Alex Ovechkin’s Four Points Defeat the Sabres (GIF)

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Ovechkin's lead in goals: substantial.

Ovechkin’s lead in goals: substantial.

Photo: Gary Wiepert

For those wondering if Alex Ovechkin‘s “micro-bruise” was still bothering him, The Great Eight wants you to know he’s doing just fine. With two goals and two assists on Tuedsday– including Mike Green‘s game-winning overtime tally, Ovechkin delivered the Washington Capitals their first win of the season over the Eastern Conference powerhouse Buffalo Sabres.

Ovechkin now has 38 goals on the season, a lead of ten over second place Corey Perry despite missing several games to injury.

Tuesday also marked Ovechkin’s sixth two-goal game of the season. His four points tied his season high, which Ovi last accomplished with a hat trick plus one against Tampa Bay on December 10th, from which followed his most exuberant celebration in recent memory.

And how did Ovechkin score his four points tonight? Power and trickery, naturally.

In the first period, Ovechkin opened up scoring by taking a pass from Nicklas Backstrom (thanks to a Troy Brouwer face-off win) and blasting a shot past Jhonas Enroth from just outside the slot.

Ovechkin’s second goal (and his knees’ first of the night), came just 53 seconds later, after he redirected a Mike Green shot into the net.

Once Ovi got the Sabres’ attention with his goal-scoring, he began showing off his playmaking ability. Late in the second period, after Buffalo tied the game at three, Ovechkin sent a slick, cross-ice pass through two Sabres defenders to Martin Erat. Erat then hit Troy Brouwer in the slot to complete a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal.

Then in overtime, when everyone thought Ovi would shoot for the hat trick, the Russian machine stuck his tongue out and hit the even-more wide open Mike Green to score the game-winner.

And celebrate!

A great game for Ovechkin and a mostly terrible night for everyone else.

If Ovechkin’s teammates were playing better, Ovi would be a leader to win his fourth career Hart trophy, his second in consecutive years. Unfortunately, wins over the Sabres are rare, and the Caps are currently sitting a few points outside of the 8th and final playoff spot in the East. Despite Ovi’s ten-goal lead over Corey Perry, Sidney Crosby’s 10-point lead in points carries more weight as the Pittsburgh Penguins run away with both the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference.

Regardless, this was another MVP night from Ovi. This team would be nowhere without him.

Video of Ovi’s Four Points

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  • Chris Cerullo

    I really wish he had the supporting cast to go far this year :(

  • JakeDubber

    Jesus dudes… this only reinforces the fact that without Ovi, our team would be at the bottom of the barrel. Not that we’re that far above that, seeing as we almost got BTFO by the worst scoring team in the league.

  • Myan

    “A mostly terrible night for everyone else.” Surely you don’t include Greenie in that list! He had probably his best game in recent memory!

  • Shaun Phillips

    Great play by Erat collecting that pass from Ovi (rocket of a pass) and with a nice little touch pass to Brouwer (go to see him get on the board). This is what Erat can do with other skill players.

  • Graham Dumas

    “OMG BUFFALO IS NOT A POWERHOUSE YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT HOCKEY.” Some guy somewhere.

    Also, much was rightly made about Ovi’s assist to Green, but how sweet was that pass to Erat on the PPG? And how money was it that Erat actually held onto that thing?

  • Graham Dumas

    I’m really starting to wonder if maybe the cast is mostly there, but the coaching staff hasn’t taken advantage of what they have. As usual, I’m late to that party, since I really, really wanted to give Oates the benefit of the doubt.

  • Scott Cameron Shores

    We should probably trade Mike Green :rolls eyes:

  • Eric Schulz

    Actually, if the team was playing better, that would hurt his case for MVP. As it stands, he’s the only reasonable choice. Which, as a fan, sucks; fans of other teams complain about their guy not getting MVP (like Blackhawk fans, for example: Kane’s the MVP, or Toews, or Keith… no they aren’t, that’s not how MVP works). I wish everybody else was playing better so that Ovechkin wasn’t 90% of the team, but it is what it is.

  • Clint Petty

    I agree 100%. The Pengiuns have proved that they can win regardless of who is in the lineup. Obviously they are a better team with Crosby, but with Neal, Malkin, Letang, etc. injured a good amount this year they are still in the top 5 in standings points in the NHL.

    On the other hand you have the Caps, who looked totally and utterly lost and impotent offensively without Ovechkin on the ice when he was injured last week. Without Ovi the Caps (unfortunately) aren’t that good, which makes Ovi that much more valuable to his team than Crosby is to the Penguins.

    I know the whole “more valuable to the league vs more valuable to his team” argument for the Hart is still ongoing, but OVI4HART!

  • Hockey mom

    I love that he actually had someone to pass to in the last two games! Wellman on Sat. And Green last night. Maybe we can work on more than one person crashing the net at a time and make this happen more often…

  • GetchaGrubbOn

    Those NBC goofs were singing Tyler Myers’ praise all night, but what in the hell was he doing on that OT goal? “You’re not getting behind the goal on me, Ovi! Hey Webs, slide over off of Green onto Ovi for me so I can defend the boards.”

  • Shaun Phillips

    The weird thing is the first time Ovi went out this season, the Caps went into SCOAR MOAR GOALS mode. The lines were different this second time compared to the first. You’d think the coaching staff would just go with what worked the first time…

  • Jon A

    “And how did Ovechkin score his four points tonight? Power and trickery, naturally.”

    This might well be my favorite quote from any RMNB article. Thanks again for the great writing and research.

  • JakeDubber

    Exactly. *Sigh^ This coaching staff is really making completely baffling decisions when it comes to lineups and they seem to completely change from game to game. NOT CONSISTENT. NO CHEMISTRY.

    And people wonder why we can’t win consistently

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Meh, Oates didn’t change his lineup for the first month of the season and people complained there too.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Yeah but those lines included the Black Hole Line, a top-6 forward buried on the 4th line, and another scratched. It wasn’t until Ovi went out that Erat even got a look in top 6 and even longer for Fehr (who is apparently back in the dog house). They were awful lines.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Yes, but my point is that a) Oates is neither changing his lines too much nor changing them not enough, b) Oates is bad at lines in general, so c) it’s not the rate of change in lines that matters.

  • GetchaGrubbOn

    What the video of the first goal doesn’t show: “Hey, I need new gloves.” “Nope, you’re going to have to deal with those, get your ass back to the faceoff circle. You’ll have to wait for another break.” “Ok, guess I’ll just score then. I really need to go change these gloves.”

  • Owen Johnson

    Not discrediting it (because he is a, ugh, great player), but Crosby’s 10 point lead is also partially because he can fire assists to Malkin, Neal, Kunitz, Letang, and other stars I’m probably leaving out.

  • VeggieTart

    And the Hart is about who’s more valuable to his TEAM, ergo, if the Caps did better without Ovi, it would hurt his cause. I’d rather the Caps do well, with or without Ovi.

  • Shawn Murphy

    “For those wondering if Alex Ovechkin‘s “micro-bruise” was still bothering him, The Great Eight wants you to know RUSSIAN MACHINE NEVER BREAK”
    /shameless pandering

  • Shaun Phillips

    Okay, gotcha. Agree completely. However, I do think that if a line shows some chemistry together to start, you let them develop that. You don’t randomly pull numbers out of a hat every few games just because you can.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Totally agree. I’ll have something on that soon.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Our current assembled defense is not a playoff level defense. We are also missing a 2nd scoring winger.

  • Graham Dumas

    Hence “mostly” there.

  • Jonah

    i don’t think the fact that we only have about half of the defense and 4/6 real top 6 forwards can be described as “mostly there”
    the caps seem to have all the 3rd line grinders and 3rd pairing defensemen that they could ever want. but for quality scoring threats they only have ovi and grabo, (erat and fehr when/if they’re ever fully utilized by the coaches) and backstrom to set them all up.
    on defense theres only really alzner and carlson who have been consistent at all in a top 3 role and green who has been iffy at best most of the season and is now looking like he is going back to the trainers room for a while.
    this is not a team that can make deep runs in the playoffs