This is not the 2010 playoffs, Halak.
Heading into Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin had scored in two straight. You can make that three straight now. Ovechkin has four goals in three games and is tied for the league lead in goals (17) with Alex Steen. And he has a certain Swedish bro to thank for all of it.
Ovechkin attempted six shots on net in Sunday’s first period. Three missed the net, one was blocked, and the two that actually reached the goaltender — well those suckers went in. 100% shooting percentage, baby. Regress this.
Ovechkin’s first strike came at 7:17. After completely missing the net on a set play during a face-off, Ovechkin wouldn’t miss again. As Steve Oleksy caught a Blues clear at neutral ice, he found Nicklas Backstrom by the boards. Instead of dumping the puck into the zone, Backstrom got fancy, because — well — he can, and left a brilliant drop pass for Ovechkin.
Ovechkin, who never has time and space in the offensive zone, had a bunch of time and space. He wound up and fired, beating Jaroslav Halak to the far post. “That shot was going 110 MPH for sure,” Craig Laughlin said.
One goal for Ovechkin; one assist for Backstrom.
Five minutes later, the first line hooked up again. After Marcus Johansson backhanded a brilliant pass to Nicklas Backstrom along the boards, the Swede found Karl Alzner wide open at the point. Alzner shot; his rebound bouncing right to the slot. Ovechkin got his stick down and perfectly placed a backhand to the left corner of the net. Beautiful.
Two goals for Ovechkin; two assists for Backstrom.
Since Adam Oates became head coach of this team, Ovechkin has started scoring in every type of way. That may be why he’s on a 60-goal pace. And that’s why he might do it for the second time in his career.
Get your hats ready.