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Alex Ovechkin sparks Capitals to 4-2 win over Red Wings

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WASHINGTON - Alex Ovechkin broke a third-period tie with another highlight-reel goal and added a power-play tally less than two minutes later in the Washington Capitals' 4-2 victory over Detroit on Saturday that extended the Red Wings' losing streak to a season-high five games.

Ovechkin looked to have overskated a feed from Viktor Kozlov along the left wing, but reached behind himself, sneaked the puck through his own legs and used defenceman Brian Rafalski as a shield before pushing a low shot past Ty Conklin with 7:08 remaining.

Detroit's Kirk Maltby was penalized for cross-checking with 5:58 left, and, six second later, Ovechkin popped in Nicklas Backstrom's rebound from the left post for his team-high 33rd goal.

Mike Green and Kozlov also scored for Washington, which halted a two-game losing streak. Ville Leino and Johan Franzen had Detroit's goals.

The Red Wings, who had won three straight against Washington, lost to the Capitals for the first time since Nov. 24, 2003.

An end-to-end first period characterized by prolonged rushes and near misses culminated in the teams trading goals during a 57-second span.

Leino, making his NHL debut, put the Red Wings ahead 1-0 with a 1:54 left. He took a pass from Pavel Datsyuk down the left wing, spun around and backed toward the goal, then slipped a backhander past Jose Theodore when neither Theodore nor Alexander Semin delivered a check.

Less than a minute later, Kozlov tipped in Milan Jurcina's one-timer from the right point past Conklin.

A similar scenario unfolded late in the second period, with Green and Franzen swapping scores 1:51 apart.

Washington had killed off two penalties before Green scored from between the circles, converting Backstrom's falling-down feed from the left circle at 17:19. But with Semin off for hooking, Franzen scored from the right post for a 2-2 tie, one of only four Detroit shots in the stanza.

Notes: Detroit LW Henrik Zetterberg sat out his second straight game with back spasms and has not played since signing a 12-year, US$73-million contract Wednesday. The Red Wings also scratched LW Tomas Holmstrom (groin). ... Washington hosts Ottawa on Sunday afternoon, the Capitals' first consecutive home matinees since Dec. 31, 2005-Jan. 1, 2006. ... The Capitals finished better than .500 in each of the first four months of the season for the first time in franchise history. ... The Red Wings' losing streak is their longest since dropping losing six straight Feb. 7-17, 2008.

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