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Alex Ovechkin heads to worlds to help Russia defend title

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will join the Russia for its quarter-final match on Thursday at the world championships.

Capitals star will represent for 10th time in 11 years

Russia's Alexander Ovechkin, left, and teammate Alexander Syomin are seen celebrating the 2012 world championship title. (Dmitry Lovetsky/Associated Press)

Russia is getting some major help for its bid to win a second straight world hockey championship.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will join the team for its quarter-final match on Thursday.

Ovechkin is a finalist for the 2013 Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player. He scored 32 goals this season to earn his third Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the league's top goalscorer.

He also led the NHL in power-play goals (16), shots on goal (220) and tied teammate Mike Ribeiro for the league lead in power-play scoring (27 points).

Ovechkin will be making his ninth appearance in the world championship, where he has 44 points (26 goals, 18 assists) in 55 games.

Ovechkin was part of Russia's gold medal team last year, recording two assists in its 6-2 win over Slovakia in the final.

He helped Russia earn the silver medal in 2010 in Germany and led his country to a gold medal during the 2008 tournament in Halifax and Quebec City.