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Ovechkin scores late in 3rd period, sends Capitals over Avalanche 3-2. @NHLdotcom

DENVER - Alex Ovechkin scored late in the third period, Braden Holtby stopped 27 shots and the Washington Capitals beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Thursday night.

Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and an assist, Jason Chimera also scored and Ovechkin added an assist for the Capitals. Washington won the last two games of its three-game trip.

Ovechkin broke a 2-all tie when he skated past defenceman Jan Hejda and put a shot on Reto Berra. The goaltender didn't cover up the loose puck and Ovechkin poked it just over the goal line with 5:56 left. It was his ninth of the season and first in four games.

The Avalanche played half the game short-handed after Alex Tanguay was hit in the face on a shot by Ovechkin. Tanguay immediately skated off the ice and went into the locker room. The Avalanche announced that Tanguay sustained a jaw injury.

Colorado, playing its first home game in two weeks, tied it on Tyson Barrie's second goal of the season at 6:44 of the third period. The defenceman pinched in from the blue line and tipped in a pass from Gabriel Landeskog for his second goal of the season.

Daniel Briere had a goal and Berra finished with 20 saves for Colorado.

Colorado pulled Berra for an extra skater with 1:28 left. They had several chances but couldn't get the equalizer past Holtby.

Backstrom gave Washington a 1-0 lead with his fifth goal 1:04 into the second period. The Capitals nearly scored again a minute later when a puck sat in the Avalanche crease but they couldn't get a stick on it.

Colorado responded with Briere's third of the season when he wristed Nathan MacKinnon's rebound by Holtby at 2:53.

MacKinnon had two assists.

The Capitals went ahead 2-1 when Chimera's shot from the top of the right circle beat Berra over his left shoulder at 12:10 of the second.

NOTES: Colorado G Semyon Varlamov is day-to-day with a groin injury. He missed three games in October with a similar injury. ... Ovechkin has played in 698 career games, all with the Capitals. He is eighth on the all-time list. ... Avalanche LW Jamie McGinn was scratched with a back injury. Rookie Dennis Everberg took his place in the lineup.

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