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Capitals 6, Red Wings 5 (OT)

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WASHINGTON -- Held silent for 60 minutes, right winger Alex Ovechkin erupted in overtime, scoring a power-play goal 2:37 into the extra period to give the Washington Capitals a thrilling 6-5 win over the Detroit Red Wings Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Center.

Ovechkin's goal, his league-leading 39th of the season, came with the Capitals on a 4-on-3 power play following a tripping minor on Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith.

Ovechkin took a cross-ice feed from Capitals defenseman John Carlson and rifled a shot over the right shoulder of Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard for the game-winner.

On Friday night, Ovechkin earned the Capitals a point when he scored with seven seconds remaining in regulation in a 4-3 overtime loss in Detroit.

With Sunday's win, the Capitals (25-22-9) moved within one point of the Red Wings (24-19-12). The Capitals are now 12-9 in games that go into overtime. The Red Wings are 6-12.

The Red Wings wasted a hat trick by right wing Gustav Nyquist in the loss.

After seeing the Red Wings rally from three two-goal deficits on the strength of Nyquist's hat trick to tie the score, the Capitals grabbed a 5-4 lead with 4:28 gone in the third period on right winger Troy Brouwer's 11th goal of the season.

Brouwer slipped behind the Red Wings defense to roof a shot over Howard. But with more than 15 minutes remaining in a back-and-forth, that did not figure to be enough for the home team.

Sure enough, the Red Wings tied the score at 5-5 less than two minutes later when left winger Justin Abdelkader finished off a scramble in front, beating Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth with a backhander for his sixth goal of the season.

Both teams generated scoring chances in the final 14 minutes of regulation, but neither could take the lead and the two teams went into overtime for the second straight game.

The Capitals turned to Neuvirth after his 42-save effort Friday night in Detroit, and he was sharp in the first half of the game. He snatched a breakaway attempt by left wing Tomas Tatar out of the air to preserve a two-goal lead by the Capitals, who received a strong afternoon from the line of left wing Jason Chimera, center Eric Fehr and right wing Joel Ward.

Chimera started his three-point afternoon by scoring his 12th goal of the season 4:43 into the game. Rookie defenseman Connor Carrick threw a pass into the goal crease for Ward, who shoveled the puck to Chimera for an open-net goal.

Chimera returned the favor by setting up Ward for his first goal of the game, a hard snap shot from the slot that beat Howard inside the left post at the 7:20 mark.

It was the first of three two-goal leads by the Capitals in the hockey game.

Detroit got on the board at the 11:40 mark of the first period when Nyquist scored his first of three goals, ending the Red Wings' road scoring drought at 194 minutes, 14 seconds.

Neuvirth made an initial save on Red Wings right winger Daniel Alfredsson, but Nyquist pounced on the rebound for his first of the day and second of the season on the power play.

The Caps restored their two-goal lead when Capitals defenseman John Carlson netted his career-high 10th goal of the season to make it 3-1 heading into the second period.

At that point the Caps were 2-for-3 on the power play and looking for a nail to hammer down the win.

The Red Wings had other ideas and Tatar again narrowed the deficit to one goal with his 13th of the season on a nice feed from center Riley Sheahan with 6:30 gone in the second period.

Ward was the last Capitals player back on Tatar's goal, but he made up for his mistake just 19 seconds later when he matched his career high with his 17th goal of the season and second of the game.

Exactly five minutes later the Red Wings' resiliency paid off again when Nyquist netted his second of the game on a feed from left wing Henrik Zetterberg to send the Red Wings into the second intermission trailing 4-3.

NOTES: The Capitals were without D Mike Green (head injury) for the second straight game. C Brooks Laich (groin) also sat out. They were replaced in the lineup with D Tyson Strachan and C Casey Wellman. ... The Red Wings were without C Stephen Weiss (hernia), RW Johan Franzen (concussion) and C Pavel Datsyuk (lower body). ... The Capitals entered the game with a 14-7-2 record on Super Bowl Sundays. ... Red Wings coach Mike Babcock and Capitals coach Adam Oates were teammates on the 2002-03 Anaheim Mighty Ducks, along with Penguins coach Dan Bylsma and Senators coach Paul MacLean. ... Capitals LW Martin Erat entered the game as the only NHL player with 20 assists and no goals. ... Red Wings RW Gustav Nyquist scored his sixth goal in seven games in the first period. ... The Capitals continue their pre-Olympic four-game homestand Tuesday night against the New York Islanders. ... The Red Wings return home to face the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.
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