The Capitals ended a four-game losing streak that came on the heels of two consecutive victories to open the season.
The win was tempered by the loss of goaltender Jose Theodore to an undisclosed injury. Theodore played the first period, giving up one goal on 13 shots, but was not on the ice at the start of the second. Semyon Varlamov replaced Theodore and stopped all 15 shots over the remainder of the contest.
Washington defeated San Jose for the first time in 12 tries, a stretch of games played over 10 years.
Ovechkin broke a 1-1 tie by scoring on a tip-in 2:55 into the second period and then put a wrist shot past Evgeni Nabokov at 3:23. Ovechkin has scored seven goals this season.
San Jose lost its second straight in what was the opening contest of a five-game road trip.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International.