The Ovechscream. (Photo credit: Alex Brandon)
It’s been written to death already, but Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is having an unbelievable start to the season. Friday night against the Montreal Canadiens (and with Wayne Gretzky in attendance), it continued, as The Great Eight scored two goals, both of the dirtty variety.
With 23 seconds left in the first period, Ovechkin scored his first goal of the night on the power play. As a John Carlson shot from the point went wide, Ovechkin gathered the puck near the goal line and put a sharp-angled shot on Peter Budaj. Budaj, very deep in his net, was not prepared for Ovi’s shot and let the seeing-eye puck find a hole through his left arm.
In the third period, Ovechkin struck again, this time with an even grittier goal. As Mikhail Grabovski hit John Carlson for a one-timer from the point, Ovechkin camped out in front of the crease, deflecting the puck with his shin.
Alex Ovechkin’s 19 goals in 21 games has him on pace to get more than 70 goals this season. He’s been a bit lucky so far, but based on his shot volume and career shooting percentage, 50+ goals seems pretty darn likely. For a player who was deemed washed up a year ago– by Mike Milbury and Caps writers alike– that’s a remarkable achievement.
The only mistake Ovechkin made on the night was allowing the Habs’ Brian Gionta rattle him late in the third period. Ovechkin responded by palming Gionta’s head like a basketball and throwing him down to the ice. It was a bad/selfish/stupid roughing penalty. It even got him chastised by head coach Adam Oates after the game.
“That’s uncharacteristic,” Oates said to the media after the game of Ovi’s penalty. “You can’t let somebody get under your skin. It’s a 3-1 game. [Ovechkin] knows better than that.”
Regardless of the mistake, Ovechkin continues to score in every which way. He leads the league in goals and he’s making it look easy.
Photo credit: Geoff Burke