Alex Ovechkin and Drew Doughty, two of the best players in the NHL, are matched up on every other shift when the Caps and Kings play. It usually results in a lot of huge hits and some hockey violence. Tonight has been no exception.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin came out in the first period literally on fire. He delivered three big hits, leading all Capitals skaters. He accidentally hurt Kevin Shattenkirk (lower-body injury, will not return) because he’s made of old USSR Titanium. He also scored his 30th goal of the season, which meant FREE ROY ROGERS FOR EVERYBODY.
Matt Niskanen, the Caps $40.25-million man, just unleashed one of the biggest hits of his career against the Flyers. As Scott Laughton attempted to curl and leave a drop pass for Wayne Simmonds, Niskanen read the play and laid him out.
Look at this. Shoulder to chest. 100-percent legal. Scott Stevens-esque.
A few years ago, Milan Lucic laid out Ryan Miller, causing the Vezina trophy-winning goaltender to miss a lot of time due to a concussion. The fallout from that play also caused a change in the NHL rulebook.
On Sunday, Alex Ovechkin laid out Roberto Luongo. Unlike with Lucic-Miller, there was zero malice here.
Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson took a lot of punishment in the first period against Tampa. Willy Baby drew three minor penalties from the Lightning after absorbing several brutal cheap shots, including two punches to the head at center ice and one headfirst boarding.
In typical Willy Baby style, he remained undaunted. He laughed off the Lightning’s feeble attempts to injure him. If my lip-reading skills are still passable, I’m pretty sure he wanted to punch someone multiple times in the face.
Early in the first period, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin loaded-up for a gigantic hit on Tyler Ennis at center ice. Unfortunately for the Russian machine, center Nicklas Backstrom was defending Ennis too, which allowed Ovechkin to merely deliver a glancing blow to the Sabres forward.
With all that momentum, something had to absorb the Russianness. That something ended up being the side boards. Without any glass, Ovechkin flipped heels-over-head. He was lucky to grab ahold of the dasher boards before doing a complete 360.