ovechkin-goal-penguins

Alex Ovechkin just scored his 37th goal of the season and it came against the Caps’ biggest rivals. As the Penguins went for a shift change, Mike Green sent a seeing-eye puck to Ovechkin, who was wide open at neutral ice.

The Russian machine raced in alone on Marc-Andre Fleury and backhanded the puck in and immediately out of the net.

Except it took a several minute review to figure out if Ovi actually scored.

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burakovsky-goal

Photo: Debora Robinson

Since December, Andre Burakovsky‘s usage in the Caps lineup has been curious as Barry Trotz has had to juggle playing time among veteran and younger players. Coming into Sunday’s game, the skilled young Swede had not received more than nine minutes of ice time since the beginning of February. He’d been used as a fourth-line center, a second-line winger, and a first line winger. He had been scratched in three of the team’s last four games.

But in Burakovsky’s return to the lineup on Sunday against Anaheim, The Burracuda scored twice off of two amazing primary assists from Alex Ovechkin. He played nearly 13 minutes on the team’s first line.

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Nearly 10 years ago, Alex Ovechkin told Tarik el Bashir, “I’m okay; Russian machine never breaks” after taking an errant shot to his leg at practice. Sunday, Ovechkin took that toughness to another level after checking Clayton Stoner into the Caps bench.

Dangerously, Stoner’s legs went airborne. His right skate swiped Ovechkin’s left leg from under the knee up to the mid-thigh.

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The Anaheim Ducks’ Andrew Cogliano scored on Justin Peters in the game’s first minute. Alex Ovechkin responded 16 seconds later, saying, “Nuh uh, we ain’t going down that easy tonight.”

Four minutes and eleven seconds later, Corey Perry scored. Ovechkin answered few minutes later while on the power play.

It’s going to be one of those games. Ovi will not be going gentle into that good night.

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Photo: Stephen Dunn

While his overall possession still needs some improving, Evgeny Kuznetsov has been putting up points and delivering juicy apples since the All-Star Break ended. On Saturday Kuznetsov did it again against the defending champion Kings.

With Jake Muzzin playing him perfectly, Kuznetsov tossed the puck over Muzzin’s stick and back to himself. He carved hard to the middle of the ice where he found an Alex Ovechkin open and waiting.

All Ovi needed was a few inches of space to beat Jonathan Quick for his 34th goal of the year and the 456th of his career.

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ovechkin-brouwer

Even when Alex Ovechkin doesn’t get a perfect pass into his wheelhouse during the power play, The Ovi Spot is still kind to him. After muffing a pass from Nicklas Backstrom, the puck ricocheted off the dasher boards and right back onto the blade of his stick. Ovechkin put the puck flat on the ice and fired at the net.

Troy Brouwer, who apparently is wearing his Cloak of Awesome tonight, perfectly redirected it past by Antti Niemi.

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Right on the nose!

Evgeny Kuznetsov got high-sticked by Michael Del Zotto during a power play late in the second period. The impact was so violent that it almost ripped off Kuzy’s helmet.

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nisky-fight

Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen had seven career NHL fights and had yet to drop the gloves at all this season before Sunday’s game. He’s a tough player but not a fighter. On Sunday, Niskanen agreed to exchange punches with Flyers forward Scott Laughton.

Niskanen dropped the hammer, just like he did a few weeks ago.

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Troy Brouwer just used some hustle to create one of the most unlikely goals of the season. After a turnover in the offensive zone, Brouwer dove and reached out with his stick. Brouwer managed to steal the puck from a Ducks player and sweep it back into the zone before it crossed the blue line, which would have put his team offsides.

The puck went right to Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuzy and Jason Chimera raced against Ilya Bryzgalov on a two-on-none. The Russian winger passed to Ice Cheetah, who buried it in Bryz’s five-hole.

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ovi-baseball-goal

Alex Ovechkin nearly tore the roof off Nationwide Arena on All-Star Weekend by using his hockey stick as a baseball bat. He failed to connect three times during the Breakaway Challenge, but this Thursday night against Ottawa Ovechkin did it in a actual freaking game.

This is incredible.

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