WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 39th goal on a power play 2:37 into overtime, and the Washington Capitals beat the Detroit Red Wings 6-5 Sunday to earn a split of a home-and-home set and tighten up things in the Eastern Conference.
Ovechkin’s one-timer from the left circle was no match for goaltender Jimmy Howard, who had only three teammates on the ice with him after Brendan Smith was sent off for tripping 1:26 into the extra period.
Joel Ward had two goals and an assist, and Jason Chimera, John Carlson and Troy Brouwer also scored for the Capitals, who got a touchdown’s worth of goals in their fifth consecutive Super Bowl Sunday home matinee. Michal Neuvirth made 25 saves.
Washington lost in a shootout at Detroit on Friday.
The Capitals and Red Wings are tied at 59 points, in the middle of a six-team pack in which two points separate eighth place from 13th place in the East. Washington had lost seven of nine and three in a row at home.
HURRICANES: Recalled goalie Cam Ward from his brief conditioning stint in the minor leagues.
Ward went 1-1 with a 2.02 goals-against average in two games this weekend with the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate in Charlotte.
The 2006 Conn Smythe Trophy winner missed Carolina’s past 14 games with an unspecified lower-body injury and began his conditioning stint Friday.
He is 6-7-5 in 19 games with Carolina this season with a 3.15 GAA.
The Hurricanes host Winnipeg on Tuesday night.