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Ville Leino scored his first NHL goal for the Detroit Red Wings on this play, but the Capitals ultimately prevailed. ((Nick Wass/Associated Press))

Washington Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin broke a tie with just over seven minutes left, netting his league-leading 32nd goal, then added another for good measure in a 4-2 home win over Detroit on Saturday afternoon.

Ovechkin took a Shaone Morrisonn pass on the left side and fired a shot just past Ty Conklin's outstretched left pad at the 12:52 mark of the third period.

Washington was granted a power play soon after, and the Russian converted after passes from Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green.

"It's a huge victory for us," Ovechkin said. "It gives us a lot of confidence.

"They were missing a couple of players, but it's very important to play an experienced team, and this game meant a lot to us."

Green scored his 14th of the season, tied for top spot among NHL defencemen, with Viktor Kozlov also finding the mark.

"Alex is one of those big-game guys," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "You keep throwing him out there and throwing [him] out there and eventually good things will happen."

Jose Theodore made 27 saves in net, four more than Detroit counterpart Conklin.

Great record at home

The Capitals are now 20-3-1 at their Verizon Center home.

"It's a good measuring stick to see how you match up to the Stanley Cup champs," Washington defenceman Tom Poti said.

"A lot of guys had this game circled on the calendar. It's a game we were …obviously jacked up for."

The Red Wings have been outscored 23-14 in losing five consecutive games.

The Wings' Henrik Zetterberg has now missed two games with a back injury since signing a lucrative deal earlier in the week, and Tomas Holmstrom was also absent on Saturday (groin).

Ville Leino filled one of the spots, scoring his first NHL goal. Johan Franzen added his 22nd of the season.

"Any time you're not winning on a regular basis, there are things you've got to do better," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

"All in all, from goaltending to playing better defence to penalty kills to more offence, we've got to do better."

Ovechkin missed a great chance early on a power play, with Detroit's Mikael Samuelsson blasting a shot that hit Theodore's chest.

Leino's first at 18:06 was a brilliant goal. He drove down the left wing and outwaited Morrisonn, spinning around to his backhand and beating Theodore.

Washington replied just 57 seconds later when a slapshot from Milan Jurcina went passed a screened Conklin. Kozlov was credited with the deflection.

The teams saved their scoring until the late stages of each period.

Green took a pass near the left faceoff circle and fired a wrister over Conklin's arm at 17:19 of the second. Green pulled even with Shea Weber of Nashville as top goal scorer among defencemen.

Lucky bounce

Franzen responded with his fourth goal in six games, a power-play effort. He took advantage of a fortuitous bounce on the doorstep to beat Theodore.

Conklin held firm when Eric Fehr took a Backstrom drop pass and snapped a hard shot from the right circle early in the third.

Not to be outdone, Theodore shone on chances from Brian Rafalski and Kris Draper, setting the stage for Ovechkin's heroics.

The Capitals improved to 31-15-4, with Detroit dropping to 31-11-7. Both teams are in the NHL's top five in the overall standings.

Justin Abdelkader played his third game for the Red Wings because of the injuries to the veterans.

Washington's Alexander Semin failed to score a point for the first time in eight games.

With files from the Associated Press