Maybe the greatest photo taken of Ovechkin of all-time. (Photo credit: Grigory Dukor/Reuters)
On Thursday at Moscow’s Megasport Arena, the Russian National Team defeated Sweden in the first game of the Channel One Cup. The tournament, which was made possible because all European leagues took a four-day break during their regular seasons, prominently featured three Capitals players playing against each other: Alex Ovechkin who skated on Team Russia’s third line with Alexey Tereschenko and Nikolai Zherdev; Nicklas Backstrom who centered Sweden’s first line; and Marcus Johansson, who played to the left of Backstrom in his national team debut.
In Russia’s 5-1 blowout win, Ovechkin scored a beautiful 1-on-2 goal and Backstrom tallied an assist for Sweden.
Now let’s see these highlights!
Backstrom’s assist is at the 0:20 mark. Ovechkin’s goal is at 3:05.
In the first period, the Swedes took an early lead thanks to a goal by Nicklas Danielsson. Nicklas Backstrom did most of the heavy-lifting however, shooting the puck from the right circle and then getting his own rebound. Instead of shooting, Backstrom fed the puck to the middle of the ice where Danielsson eventually converted.
Russia then took over in the second, as Evgeny Medvedev and KHL top scorer Sergey Mozyakin gave the locals the lead. A minute later, Ovechkin scored a pretty goal. Picking up the puck at the blue line, the Capitals captain then beat Swedish defenseman Jonas Frogren before easily easily deposting the puck past Tampa’s Anders Lindback. Towards the end of the period, Russia scored once more for good measure, thanks to a great effort by Alex Radulov to tip in a Ilya Kovalchuk shot.
Finally in the third, Mozyakin potted another goal. Russia would sail to an easy victory, 5-1.
The Channel One Cup is a part of four-tournament EuroHockeyTour competition that features the four best national teams in Europe: Finland, Czech Republic, Sweden and Russia. With NHL players actually participating this year due to the lockout, the games have garnered a ton of attention from the public. For example, executive director of Hockey Russia, Valery Fesyuk, told reporters Wednesday that all of Team Russia’s remaining games have sold out.
Those Russians sure love their Ovechkin.
Alex Ovechkin congratulated by his team. (All photos by Grigory Dukor/Reuters)
Backstrom celebrates Sweden’s only goal of the game.
Ovechkin and Mozyakin celebrate.