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Ovechkin powers Capitals past Red Wings

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Missing practice for a day did little to

slow down Alex Ovechkin.

The reigning Hart Trophy winner scored twice within a 76-second

span late in the third period Saturday, lifting the Washington

Capitals to a 4-2 victory over the slumping Detroit Red Wings.

Ovechkin gave the Capitals a scare when he crashed into the

boards in the second period of Tuesday's 3-2 overtime loss to

the Boston Bruins. He suffered a stinger that caused him to

miss practice the following day.

Saturday's contest started at 12:30 p.m. local time, and

Ovechkin said he never remembered playing a game that early.

Washington has another 12:30 start Sunday.

"In the first two periods, I did not have a lot of chances, and

I was still kind of sleepy," he said. "I skated around and

missed the puck and felt kind of frustrated."

The All-Star left wing showed that he is none the worse for

wear, scoring his 32nd and 33rd goals of the season to take over

the NHL's goal-scoring lead from Philadelphia's Jeff Carter.

"I had a lot more chances in the third period, and scored a

goal, and it helped me," Ovechkin added.

"Alex is one of those big-game guys," Capitals coach Bruce

Boudreau said. "You keep throwing him out there and throwing

out there and eventually good things will happen."

Ovechkin was quiet through two periods, but snapped a 2-2 tie

with an unassisted goal with 7:08 left in the third. He then

scored off a goal-mouth scramble when Washington was on the

power play to give the Capitals a two-goal cushion.

"They pay him to score and that's what he did at the end,"

Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.

Washington survived a frantic final 1 1/2 minutes as the Red

Wings skated with a 6-on-3 advantage, pulling goaltender Ty

Conklin after the Capitals were called for consecutive


"We were bombing away," Babcock said. "We had good rebounding

opportunities. Goaltending bailed them out."

Playing without regulars Chris Chelios, Tomas Holmstrom and

Henrik Zetterberg, the Red Wings suffered their season-high

fifth straight loss.

"Anytime you're not winning on a regular basis, there are things

you've got to do better," Babcock added.

Zetterberg missed his second straight game with back spasms

after signing a 12-year, $72 million contract extension


The Red Wings grabbed a 1-0 lead with 1:54 left in the opening

period as Ville Leino scored his first career goal in his NHL


However, the lead lasted less than a minute as Viktor Kozlov

registered his 11th of the season to tie it for the Capitals 57

seconds later.

The two goals in the second period also were scored late, with

Mike Green notching his 14th with 2:41 left to give Washington a

2-1 lead.

"They're so patient and so smart with the puck," Green said.

"Once we slowed down our game, we played almost like them."

Detroit tied it with 50 seconds remaining in the period on Johan

Franzen's power-play goal, his 22nd of the campaign.

Theodore recorded 27 saves for the Capitals, including a number

of stops in the frenetic final moments.

"It showed sacrifice," Boudreau said. "Everybody was blocking

shots and doing whatever you have to do to preserve the win, so

that was nice to see."

Conklin turned aside 23 shots for the Red Wings.


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