This is a nice picture. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
When the Caps’ leading scorer Alex Ovechkin went down with an upper-body injury last week, some wondered where the team’s scoring would come from. Well, during Ovi’s six period absence the Washington Capitals scored 10 goals. Never mind I guess. With him back in the lineup Tuesday against the New York Islanders, they continued their blazing offensive pace, winning 6-2. As usual, Ovi was at the center of the action, registering three points in his return to the ice.
“I feel great,” Ovechkin told reporters after the game. “I feel pretty fresh out there. Of course, I have couple days off, couple breaks.”
Ovi’s night, predictably, started on Washington’s dominant power play. With the Caps and Isles tied at one less than four minutes into the second, Nicklas Backstrom won the faceoff and sent the puck cleanly back to Ovechkin. Taking a few strides to his left to find a lane, Ovi fired a laser past New York goaltender Evgeny Nabokov.
Later in the second period, and after three more goals, Ovechkin was back at it, once again on the power play. This time, Marcus Johansson fed him a great pass from behind the net as Ovi sat in his usual spot on the man advantage. It was a routine play for Ovechkin. With a quick one-time flick the Caps were up 5-3.
Ovi’s third point, though, was the best. With the Capitals once again on the power play — I know, I know — Ovi fired a bullet of a pass to Tom Wilson, who was streaking down the slot. T-Wilz tapped it in for his first career goal. Mozel tov!
After the game, Ovi continued his tradition of slamming rookies in the face with shaving cream.
Despite sporting bright red, stinging eyes, Wilson was had a huge smile on his face in the locker room.
In addition to Wilson’s milestone, it was also Ovechkin’s 1000th career point– counting his time in the KHL, RSL, and NHL (including playoffs), along with his international play. As Slava Malamud notes, this is a big achievement for Russian players. Ovi is only the 11th guy since the collapse of the Soviet Union to accomplish the feat.
“It’s a pretty big number,” he told me with a smirk. “I’m pretty happy.”