Alex Ovechkin Scores 49th Goal of the Year (GIF)

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Photo: Julio Cortez

Over the last two days, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has become hockey’s version of a human piñata. The reason why the mainstream media has figuratively flogged Ovechkin with its bat full of angry pixels: Ovi gave up on a play that led to a Dallas Stars goal. It was already 3-0 and there were three defenders in the D-zone. Deal with it. Head coach Adam Oates didn’t help matters much on Wednesday when he said that Ovechkin “quit” on the play.

Since then, life as a Caps fan has been nothing short of depressing. On Friday, however, things got a bit back to normal in the first period.

After being reunited with Nicklas Backstrom for the first time since the mid-80′s, Ovechkin scored his first even strength goal… also since the mid-80′s.

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Photo: Patrick Smith

When the Washington Capitals gave up two straight breakaways to the Dallas Stars while on their own power play last night, I thought that was rock bottom.

Nope.

Rock bottom was Dustin Jeffrey‘s second period goal. The tally, which came 34 seconds after Ryan Whitney’s 2-on-0 goal on a botched Capitals line change, gave the Dallas Stars a 3-0 lead. It essentially ended the game.

The defense on the goal was atrocious. I’d waste my time or yours with a description. The screenshots and video say everything.

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The Caps game sucks, so let’s look elsewhere for entertainment. How about Pittsburgh, where Sidney Crosby recorded an assist on Chris Kunitz‘s first-period goal against the Carolina Hurricanes. That apple gave Crosby his fifth career 100-point season. He’s a lock for the Art Ross trophy, but that’s not why we’re writing.

No. We’re writing because tonight is the night the refs finally turned on Sid. As Crosby skated into the Pens’ defensive zone, he got smacked a linesman. We’re ethically obligated to say it was unintentional, but c’mon.

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First-year pro Patrick Wey hit Nashville Predators facepuncher extraordinairre Rich Clune along the benches on Sunday night. That was obviously unacceptable per the rules of gentlemanly conduct, so Clune challenged Wey to a fight and then knocked him out.

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Photo: Rob Carr

Last night, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin quietly had a three-point game. In the first period, he scored two goals, one of which was lucky, lucky, lucky. The Ovi Spot was once again accommodating for The Great Eight.

Ovechkin now has 48 goals on the season and 85 multi-goal games in his career. Last night was the tenth time this season where Ovechkin’s scored the game’s opening goal.

Here’s some more mind-blowing stats from the Capitals: Ovechkin has scored 22 powerplay goals this season, tying the Capitals single-season record. Wednesday marked Ovechkin’s ninth multi-goal game and fourth multi-power-play goal game of the season. Ovechkin has recorded three or more points in a game seven times this season and leads the NHL in goals, power-play goals (22) and shots (358).

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With forty-five seconds left in regulation and the Washington Capitals shorthanded and sans a goalie, Evgeny Kuznetsov scored one of the biggest goals of the season. Certainly the biggest of his career– seeing as it was his first. After Alex Ovechkin unleashed a rushed shot from the point, Kuzya did the dirty work in front of the net, backhanding the loose puck past Jonathan Quick. Game tied 4-4.

The goal set off a wild celebration among fans and players– with the exception of one guy, who had some captainly duties to perform.

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This is just about the best photo ever. (Photo: Rob Carr)

Eight games into his NHL career (which feels absolutely appropriate), Evgeny Kuznetsov has scored the first goal of his NHL career. It was a big one.

With under a minute to go and with the Caps shorthanded and with their goalie pulled, Kuznetsov whacked Alex Ovechkin‘s rebound past Jonathan Quick. That goal tied the Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals at 4. It unleashed a raucous celebration in Verizon Center. And it gave the Caps one very badly needing standings point. Call it clutch.

Kuznetsov now has six points in his eight games as an NHL player. I don’t know about you, but so far he looks to me like he has the potential to be a superstar in this league. This dirty goal was just a taste.

Now onto the media extravaganza!

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Scary moment at the end of Tuesday’s Caps-Kings game as Caps defenseman  Jack Hillen collided with Alex Ovechkin during overtime. Hitting one another at full speed while crossing center ice, Hillen’s head ran into Ovechkin’s chest. Hillen laid motionless on the ice, apparently knocked out.

Hillen eventually regained consciousness and was helped off the ice to the applause of a relieved Verizon Center crowd, but his injury is yet another chapter in the very sad book of Hillen’s tenure in Washington.

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Everything was going swimmingly for the Washington Capitals. Alex Ovechkin opened up scoring with two straight goals. Going into intermission, the Caps had a two-goal lead.

Then things changed. Mike Richards scored early in the second. Then, a few minutes later, the Capitals’ first-line center and arguably the team’s best player, Nicklas Backstrom, absorbed a rough hip check near the Caps bench, where the boards meet plexiglass, courtesy of Drew Doughty.

Take a look.

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On Comcast Sportsnet’s pre-game show Capitals Central (alliteration!), Smokin’ Al Koken interviewed forward Chris Brown to ask the prospect what it was like to score his first NHL goal against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

Before Brown could even get a word out, Jason Chimera stormed from the glass doors behind them to unleash yet another Caps video-bomb.

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