DENVER -- Alex Ovechkin didn't score, but the Washington Capitals rallied for a 3-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Thursday.
Ovechkin needs two goals to become the eighth player in NHL history to score 700. He had 16 shot attempts, seven on goal, and has gone three games without scoring.
T.J. Oshie deflected Nick Jensen's shot with 2:04 left in the third period to give Washington a 3-2 lead.
[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Avalanche highlights]
Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom scored, and Braden Holtby made 32 saves for the Capitals (37-15-5), who lead the Metropolitan Division by five points over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"Definitely as the game went on I felt our game kept building and was getting better in all areas," Washington coach Todd Reirden said. "Obviously a lot of guys stepped up and I thought we played way more as a team. We were more connected and in sync tonight after two good days of practice. To pull out a win, coming from behind, it's a big win for our team to start this road trip."
Video: WSH@COL: Backstrom taps Vrana's feed home for PPG
Mikko Rantanen and Andre Burakovsky scored, and Philipp Grubauer made 35 saves for the Avalanche (33-17-6), who won their previous five games. They are second in the Central Division, two points behind the St. Louis Blues.
"Real good team in Washington, they have something to say about it," Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. "They come at us in the third, we do a job, survive for a while, but we didn't win enough battles. We won some races, but we didn't win enough battles. We needed more jam, more jam at the end of the game, more desire to win the game."
The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead at 2:54 of the first period when Nathan MacKinnon passed across to Burakovsky in the right face-off circle on a 2-on-1. Rantanen made it 2-0 at 16:05 on a power play when he took a drop pass from MacKinnon and shot short-side from the right circle.
"I think it was not acceptable," said Backstrom, who spoke to the Capitals during the first intermission. "The way we've been playing lately too, it's not acceptable. We've been talking about details and stuff like that, and we're going out in the first period and we're not even there, and I think in this League you have to be aware of what you're doing out there at all times. I think we bounced back pretty good after that and worked ourselves into the game."
The Capitals closed to 2-1 at 11:37 of the second period when Jakub Vrana passed through the slot to Backstrom for a redirection at the left post.
Washington killed a one-minute Colorado two-man advantage that started with 3:13 left in the period.
"The special teams, the 5-on-3, was huge," Reirden said. "Obviously your goaltender has to be solid in these situations. But if you can kill off on a 5-on-3, somehow the numbers tilt in your favor heavily, even if you're behind in a game like that. That was a big turning point in the game."
Wilson tied it 2-2 at 12:48 of the third period on a power play, tipping John Carlson's shot from the right point after Burakovsky was penalized for high-sticking Oshie.
"They scored two (third-period) goals and capitalized on a stupid penalty that I took," said Burakovsky, who played for the Capitals from 2014-19. "They won more battles than we did in the third and I think we have to battle through it and find a way."
Video: WSH@COL: Wilson deflects Carlson's shot home for PPG
They said it
"When he talks, everyone listens. He doesn't say much all the time, I think that's part of why it means so much when he does. When he says something, it's time to listen. That's why he's been our backbone forever. That's why everyone follows him." -- Capitals goalie Braden Holtby on forward Nicklas Backstrom's first intermission talk
"We had lots of chances through 40 minutes, plenty of chances. Didn't capitalize, Holtby made some big saves. We had plenty of opportunities to extend our lead. Their goalie played good, as did ours. I thought we did a good job limiting their scoring chances through 40 minutes, but the game's on the line in the third and we didn't win enough battles." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar
Need to know
Oshie has five points (three goals, two assists) in a four-game point streak. ... Vrana has 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in his past 16 games. ... MacKinnon, who has eight points (two goals, six assists) in a six-game point streak, became the fifth player in Colorado/Quebec Nordiques history to score 80 points in the first 56 games. He and Joe Sakic are the only Avalanche players to do so.
Capitals: At the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-A, FS-A PLUS, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)
Avalanche: Host the Los Angeles Kings in the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series at Falcon Stadium on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN360, TVAS2, AFN|sports2)
Video: Capitals rally to defeat Avalanche