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Alex Ovechkin’s 790th goal gives Capitals an overtime win over Flyers

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Things were grim for Washington in the closing minutes of Wednesday’s game against the stuttering Philadelphia Flyers as the Capitals trailed by a goal and their energy waned. Then winger Sonny Milano turned on the jets and found the equalizer, sending the game into overtime.

Captain Alex Ovechkin took it from there and sent the Capital One Arena crowd into a frenzy with a one-timer from a deft feed from Dylan Strome for the overtime winner in the Capitals’ 3-2 win. The win ended Washington’s four-game losing streak; Ovechkin’s 1:04 goal was his 10th of the season and No. 790 of his career.

The Flyers led 2-1 into the third period before the Capitals (8-10-3) responded. Washington killed two penalties in the first five minutes and turned the momentum in his favor. Milano leveled the backdoor with 2:58 left before Ovechkin did the rest, converting just moments after hitting the post.

Capitals goalie Darcy Kuemper stopped 21 shots but looked shaky at times. Flyers colleague Felix Sandstrom made 29 saves.

Washington’s next game is Friday afternoon against the Calgary Flames before embarking on a 12-day, six-game journey. The Capitals had gone 3-1 in their last four games, including a dismal 4-0 loss to defending Stanley Cup champions Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

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With a tie of 1 in the second period, Washington came out buzzing. But the Flyers (7-8-5) were the only team to light the lamp.

Philadelphia went 2-1 up at 14:33 when Ivan Provorov’s shot went off Patrick Brown’s skate and slipped through Kuemper. It was just the third shot on target this period for Philadelphia, who have lost eight times in a row (0-5-3). Washington had two power play chances during that period but failed to convert.

Washington brought a key player back into the lineup and he made an immediate impression. Winger TJ Oshie had missed the last 11 games with a lower body injury. On Wednesday he had two assists, a penalty, two saves and seven goals.

But Washington continued to start slowly. Morgan Frost made it 1-0 for the Flyers at 5:27 of the first period with an odd goal: his shot from the circle hit Kümper’s blocker, exploding in mid-air, landing behind Kümper in the crease and trickling across the goal line. Washington has opened the first goal in 13 of their 21 games.

Marcus Johansson equalized with 1 on the power play at 11:05. At first it looked like Ovechkin scored a rebound goal, but Johansson swiped at the puck and got a piece of it before going over the goal line.

It seemed like Johansson had just scored Washington’s first goal. But the video review decided he had kicked the puck into the net, so the goal was wiped off the board.

Here’s what else you should know about the Capitals win:

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On his return, Oshie wanted to bring positivity to a group that went 2-6-3 in his absence. The 35-year-old said if he doesn’t bring energy then he’s not doing his job properly.

“We play our best when the lads are smiling, so that will be a focus for me. … If I don’t bring positive energy, it’s probably time to send me home,” he said. “Kind of one of my qualities and one of the things I try to bring to the team.”

Center Nicklas Backstrom went skating with the team Wednesday morning and continued his steady progress in recovery after undergoing hip surgery during the offseason. He has been away from the team regularly with winger Tom Wilson (knee) since late October.

The Capitals expect Backstrom to be a regular at practice, but he’s unlikely to join the team on his six-game road trip.

“He smiles, he looks good, he feels good,” said coach Peter Laviolette. “He’s happy to be out there – that’s really positive.”

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