Photo credit: Kim Klement
Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson has long struggled to be strong on the puck, but this year he has somehow become Mike Knuble incarnate along the boards and in the paint. I have no idea what changed.
During a late first period powerplay, Johansson exhibited his new grit, making Tampa pay for concentrating a wee too much on Alex Ovechkin.
As Nicklas Backstrom surveyed the ice near the right circle, he sent a tape-to-tape pass to Johansson near the crease. The 23-year-old Swede noticed that Tampa Bay Lightning forward B.J. Crombeen had turned his back completely, playing man-to-man on the Russian machine. Wide open, Johansson then spun towards the net and slammed the puck through Anders Lindback’s five-hole.
It’s not a spectacular goal, but this is exactly the stuff Mojo need to do to continue growing as a player.
Johansson has goals in back-to-back games (both on the power play), and seven goals overall on the season. With 29 points through 43 games, Johansson is on his way to beat his career high of 46 points in 2010-11. Marcus actually has an outside chance of scoring 60-plus points this season.