Photo credit: Alex Brandon
When Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin traveled halfway around the world last weekend for the Olympic torch ceremony in Greece, I was worried. Would the jetlag affect the Russian machine? Two games into the season, we have an emphatic answer: hell naw.
In Thursday’s home opener, Ovechkin got a DC Hat Trick: two regulation goals and a shootout tally. Even though it’s not a real hat trick, fans at Verizon Center threw hats because that’s what we do. Ovechkin put 11 shots on goal (17 attempts overall) and dished out five hits. Through two games this season, Ovechkin leads the league in points and goals. I guess he’s doing okay.
The night didn’t get off to a promising start. The Caps had fallen behind 3-0, Holtby was pulled, and Ovechkin looked out of sorts. That is, until Kris Russell — quite unwisely– got up in Ovi’s grill. The two pushed and shoved, taking matching minors.
After leaving the penalty box, Ovechkin decided: Hey, let’s take the body.
His first victim was Ben Street.
I’m surprised Street didn’t go through the glass.
GIF by Ian Oland
Like bugs on my windshield on the drive home. Also, nice fist pumps, guys.
A few minutes later, after Connor Carrick scored on a breakaway, Ovechkin followed up with a tally of his own on the powerplay. Ovi scored from his spot in the left circle (again), taking a perfect tape-to-tape pass from Mike Green and one-timing it past Karri Ramo.
Four minutes later, Ovi scored off the face-off.
And in the shootout, the game-winner.
Ovi’s now 24-for-69 (34.7%) in the skills competition over his career.
Last year we doubted that the Capitals’ powerplay would continue to dominate. We also had doubts that Ovechkin could continue the blistering pace he started during the second half of last season.
So far, he’s pulling it off.
Let’s allow these graphics to speak for themselves.