Photo credit: Evan Vucci
Alex Ovechkin has played the point on the power play for most of his entire seven-year NHL career. During that time, using his heavy rocket of a shot, the Capitals prized left-winger has tallied 111 goals with the extra man – for an average of 16 per season.
Unfortunately, Ovechkin has also found himself on the wrong side of a lot of shorthanded opportunities over the years as well. Using a forward at the point can be risky, and the statistics tell the tale: the Caps have given up nine shorthanded goals this season, fourth most in the NHL.
During a power play in the second period of Sunday’s 3-0 win over the Wild, Dennis Wideman turned the puck over at the blue line. A shorthanded chance seemed imminent, but the Russian Machine hustled back, dropped to one knee, and blocked Mikko Koivu’s pass across the ice to a streaking Wild player.
It may be the best defensive play of Ovechkin’s career — and timely, given the Caps’ tenuous grip on a playoff spot.
It doesn’t end there though. On the same shift, Ovechkin brought the puck into the offensive zone and found Troy Brouwer open on the wing. Brouwer then hit Mathieu Perreault with a cross-ice pass, which he deposited into the net, for the Capitals second goal of the game.
Verizon Center erupted into cheers of “Ovi! Ovi!”
People have been asking “What’s wrong with Ovechkin?” all year. Proven by this shift, the answer right now is: Nothing. At all.