Alex Ovechkin Scores Hat Trick, Caps beat Devils 5-1

Bruce Bennett

The Washington Capitals’ loss to New Jersey Devils on Thursday was one of their worst games in years. Saturday’s matinee still had some problems with penalties, but they added a magic ingredient: Alex Ovechkin’s thirst for SCOAR MOAR GOALS.

Alex Ovechkin sank a one-timer to cap off a great entry sequence by Chimera and Ribeiro. Ilya Kovalchuk used John Erskine as a screen to beat Braden Holtby late in the second period. Alex Ovechkin got his second of the day– coming up the right side and shooting between Volchenkov’s legs. Eric Fehr scored a shorthanded goal after robbing Johan Hedberg behind his net. Ovechkin converted a power play goal late in the third, and the hats rained down. Then Troy Brouwer got everybody wings, and it was party time.

Caps beat Devils 5-1.

  • If this recap is below par, blame it on yesterday being Margarita Day. Or blame to Jimmy Buffett directly. He sucks by the way.
  • That’s 11 career hat tricks for Alex Ovechkin. His first in over two years and his first in DC since Snowmageddon on Feb 7, 2010. Washed up? Naw. We told you it would happen, and it did.
  • Wojtek Wolski missed a wide open net in the first period (although I think the puck rolled on him). That was a heartbreaker for a player already getting bad bounces lately. Wolski has been scoreless since his game-winner on February 1. With a bit of patience and perseverance, Wolksi should turn it around soon.
  • Braden Holtby capably stopped a penalty shot by Steve Bernier. The shot was facilitated by Tom Poti’s trip while chasing Bernier’s breakaway.
  • The Capitals PK unit has been terrific lately, a happy reversal from earlier in the season. They’re still overworked though. The Caps will take fewer penalties when they organize their breakout and neutral-ice game– you don’t commit penalties when you’ve got the puck after all.
  • I don’t see why CSN doesn’t use Alan May between the benches in every game. He’s great with systems analysis, he’s got amazing stories (is there anyone he hasn’t fought?), and he gives Craig Laughlin more grief than anyone. Moar please.
  • Nick Backstrom needs better linemates. If you’re expecting him to help guys score, he should play with guys who can score.
  • With Carlson’s and Erskine’s pucks over the glass, the Caps now have ten delay of game penalties this season. That’s insane-o.
  • There’s a lot to love about Ovechkin’s first goal. Ovi used his physicality to gain possession in his end, then immediately gave it up to Ribeiro and Chimera, who made the zone entry. Ovechkin got himself into scoring position and trusted his linemates to set him up.  They did, and Ovi scored. People say Oveckin needs to broaden his game– but I think he’s still got a future as a pure scorer.
  • Ovechkin’s second goal (man, it was fun to type that) was his first conversion of The Ovechkin Move (Right Side Edition).
  • The third Ovi goal (okay now I’m shaking) was a clean bang-bang play– right after Ovi missed an open net a la Wolski.
  • Eric Fehr was a great pick-up by McPhee. Never too early to re-sign a guy like Fehr, who has expanded his portfolio to include penalty killing (and shorthanded scoaring) this season. Now we gotta get him on the top line.
Joe B suit of the afternoon

Joe B suit of the afternoon

I know you guys don’t care about this stuff, but the Caps won this game because they shot early and often. The second period was a bit quieter, but the Caps looked like a completely different team compared to Thursday. Possession = wins, and the Capitals earned this win.

Braden Holtby has been terrific for three games straight now. It’s a shame he only got one win out of those, but that goes to show you that goalie wins are a silly stat.

What a freaking delightful game this was, and what a privilege it is to write about it for you guys. Enjoy your Saturday afternoon, and let’s welcome Alex Semin back to DC with a smile next week.

  • Akay15

    OVECHTRICK!!! WHY AM I NOT IN D.C. RIGHT NOW!

  • Ash

    Heyyyyy, anyone want to comment on how Ovechkin isn’t a good captain who shouldn’t skip optional practices? Anyone?

    God, that was satisfying. Kicking myself for passing the opportunity to go to this game.

  • Hockeynightincanada

    Much better. And where did Ovie excel today? From the right side! Lord knows we’ve been wanting him to make this change for the last couple of years. Will this continue? Either way hand Oates the credit where it’s due.

    Holtby has also improved on his positioning and is not as aggressive.
    Guess we will see what Carolina brings on Tuesday.

  • http://twitter.com/lilwolf30 Anna Roscigno

    Seriously..I hope this does shut everyone up when it concerns Ovechkin. Second game in a row where he’s played on fire and today it converted to a hat trick. Hope he keeps on putting them in so he can keep shutting them up. (:

  • serpent

    Ribeiro=the best bloody sign up GMGM made this season! The man is a master play maker. He OWNS the puck!

  • http://twitter.com/mattymatty2000 Matthew Kory

    It’s all about puck possession and the Caps from what I saw did the best job they’ve done all season in that department. MOAR PLEEZ

  • Hockeynightincanada

    Or maybe it’s the 2nd game in a row in which Maria has been in town. Coincidence? I think not (:

  • Yv

    Great game by Caps and by Ovi. Should be noticed that Ovi collected hatrick and assist in the lowest time on ice this season and under Oates, just 16’40”, 5 min less than normal. Maybe not coincidental Kovy had also ridiculously low TOI for him, just above 20 min, 6 min less than his average. Hopefully, Devils preserving him for tomorrow game vs. Tampa.
    It looks like, to win division and 3d seed is the only place left for Caps to reach playoffs. I hope that tonight’s game TBL-CAR would be not a 3 point affair.

    Still holes in two top lines need to be addressed and experiment with W. Wolski should be ended. He should be ready to play in KHL for the first Polish team there, they hope will announce next couple weeks. Caps won 5:1 but still with him in line Nicky and Brower ended with -1? Maybe buyout Kuzzi’s contract)? His Traktor could be out of KHL playoffs quite soon.

  • Yv

    correcting myself: Wolski was not on ice during only goal allowed but now he still not contributing on his third line. Fehr have been promoted up to replace him.

  • Brouwer Rangers

    Yeah they should probably have Backstrom on a line with someone who can score -maybe even a team goal-scoring leader.

  • http://twitter.com/VeggieTart Danielle

    He still shouldn’t skip optional practices. He had ONE great game. Now, let’s see him and the rest of the boys string together a series of five or six great games.

  • Ash

    I maintain that skipping an optional skating practice is not the huge deal everyone makes it, especially since he was skating in the KHL and wouldn’t have had the same conditioning issues as those who weren’t. If this is the result of, say, Oates putting him in the video room and making him watch things with his eyes propped open Clockwork Orange style, it’ll do him better than it will to be doing some regular on-ice drills. The optional practice issue is a stupid strawman argument everyone makes against his leadership, and it needs to be retired.

    I agree he and the team need to build on it with a strong of wins. But I think it’s be wrong to say he’s only had one great game. He’s shown steady improvement while learning a new system in a different position, and I think there will be even better results to come.

  • scott

    Ovechkin still isnt a great captain, acceptable sure look down the roster and see is there a guy there not named laich or backstrom that you can make a legit case for. He just has far to many nights where it looks like he is just going through the motions to be a real leader.

  • Hockeynightincanada

    Agree somewhat. Deciding not to attend optional skates don’t define what makes a good captain. I think there were better options for captain at the time, but I don’t know if he is a good leader or not.

    My issue with Ovie was his lack of adjustment as a forward as well as the lack of will to become more of a balanced player offensively and defensively. At least he has finally accepted becoming a RW’er, which I think will make him a threat offensively again. Still somewhat of a liability on the forecheck, but that’s hardly his fault.

  • http://twitter.com/lilwolf30 Anna Roscigno

    whatever works!!

  • Graham Dumas

    Wait, both Fehr and Brouwer scored today. Which crappy linemates of Backstrom are you referring to?

  • serpent

    Exactly! Nick can score on his own just fine. The lack of scoring is on him right now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/frances.kusnyir Frances Kusnyir

    Ovechkin hope you make the play offs and send us tickets dude, you’re the best hockey player in the NHL don’t forget where you come from. He plays with heart!! :)

  • Ash

    Troll harder, dude. And maybe provide some real actual examples and facts while you’re at it.

    I love Backstrom and Laich. I think they’re probably great guys, and provide different aspects of leadership. I also think that leadership consists of many different qualities and aspects, and it’s not likely that any single player on the roster is going to have all those qualities. And honestly, as fans, we just don’t have the inside track as to how these things work: what we see of Ovechkin is a fraction of the time he actually spends with his teammates, and therefore, I go with the fact that his teammates voted for him, and continue to support him.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Brouwer is scoring on PP. The Backstrom line isn’t doing great at even strength. No hate on Troy.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Fehr scored on PK. Brouwer on PP. We’re talking even strength, son.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Nu-uh

  • Graham Dumas

    OK, I’ll take that. Fehr point. (Sorry.)