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Ovechkin breaks record, but Capitals lose to Stars

by Katie Brown

WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin became the top Russian-born goal-scorer in NHL history, but the Washington Capitals lost to the Dallas Stars 3-2 at Verizon Center on Thursday.

"Sooner or later I knew it was going to go," said Ovechkin, who went four games without scoring since tying Sergei Fedorov with NHL goal No. 483. "Of course you get a little frustrated when you have good chances go, especially in the second [period] when I hit the post. … I think it was an important goal for us -- put us back in the game -- but I think we deserved more today, at least a point."

After Ovechkin scored No. 484 to tie it 2-2 with 12:59 to go in the third period, the Stars took the momentum back and won a game they might have lost last season.

"I think we just kept playing," Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen said. "We didn't panic when they tied it. We just [needed] to keep doing our job and don't do anything special and that worked tonight."

Jason Spezza scored the game-winning goal with 8:50 left in the third period, with the fans settling in after celebrating Ovechkin's record-breaker.

"It was an important goal because the building was rocking and those next couple shifts are big shifts for both teams," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "Big for us and big for them, and to get the goal right away kind of quieted the place down."

Forward Nicklas Backstrom scored and assisted on Ovechkin's record-breaker, and Philipp Grubauer made 28 saves for Washington in his fourth start of the season.

"I think [Alex] wishes, too, that we won the game, but obviously a huge accomplishment," Backstrom said. "I'm really happy for him. He's a terrific player, and I enjoy watching him every day."

Ovechkin scored from in close on Lehtonen off a pass from Backstrom, his longtime linemate.

"We sent our most physical forward after him [Ovechkin] and he mowed him over tonight," Ruff said. "I've got a lot of admiration for the way he plays. He plays the game hard. He's got the best shot from that off side. I don't think anybody has scored as many goals as he has from over there, and then he can be dynamic on the rush too. He's the complete package. I'm glad we only play him one more time this year."

Lehtonen made 33 saves for Dallas (16-4-0).

"I don't think we played our best game today but we [found] a way to win," Stars defenseman John Klingberg said. "That's one of our strengths right now. We haven't played our best game yet, we're still looking for that, but obviously good to win when we weren't playing our best game."

The Capitals won at the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in overtime on Wednesday. Dallas defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 on Tuesday.

"There weren't too many things I was disappointed in," Washington coach Barry Trotz said. "I thought our compete level and our effort level was extremely high. We had a real tough game yesterday, and we were facing a rested team that was sitting here. I thought we measured up pretty well. That's the best team in the Western Conference. A little disappointed we didn't at least come out of this with at least a point. I'm disappointed with the result."

Tyler Seguin scored on an odd-man rush at 9:28 of the first period to give the Stars a 1-0 lead. On a 3-on-2, Klingberg fed Seguin, who beat Grubauer with a wrist shot for his 11th goal and 28th point of the season.

Washington (12-5-1) has allowed the first goal in nine consecutive games and has not led after the first period since Oct. 23.

Backstrom tied the game 1-1 at 17:40 of the first. Lehtonen blocked defenseman Taylor Chorney's point shot, and Backstrom picked up the rebound and swept it toward the crease. His backhand was deflected past Lehtonen by the skate of Stars defenseman Jordie Benn.

Chorney's assist was his first point with the Capitals; Backstrom's goal was his seventh of the season.

Cody Eakin gave Dallas a 2-1 lead at 4:45 of the third period when he deflected Klingberg's point shot past Grubauer. The assist was Klingberg's 22nd point of the season.

"Our puck management wasn't great, and we had quite a few big turnovers that our goaltender covered up for us," Ruff said. "I thought we had spurts of some pretty competitive play and some good opportunities, but their pockets of energy were just a little bit better than ours."

Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik missed his fourth consecutive game with a lower-body injury he sustained Nov. 12 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Trotz coached his 100th game with the Capitals; forward Brooks Laich became the 10th player to play 700 games for the Capitals.

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