Photo: Robert Moyer
Evgeny Kuznetsov has been the Caps MVP through the first month of the season. He’s assisted on game-winning goals, scored his first career hat trick, and on Saturday, tallied his first game-winning goal of the season, dismissing the Florida Panthers in overtime. All three Capitals on the ice were Russian. (You can’t write a better script than that, especially for this blog.)
Photo: Bruce Bennett
How do you beat Jaroslav Halak? The answer is almost always traffic up front. That’s how Alex Ovechkin got the Caps their first goal, a deflection in the first period. And that’s how, almost 60 minutes of play later, Nicklas Backstrom ended the game– as Joel Ward impersonated a wall in the slot.
Fehr watches the puck go in from his knees.
Mike Green was a hockey Istari all Thursday night, but never more than he was in overtime.
In the first shift after rego, Mike Green piloted yet another controlled entry into the Columbus zone. Green’s fake shot forced Jack Johnson to revert to his initial form– the NHL’s version of Magikarp. Then Green sailed below the goal line, earning enough space to give Eric Fehr a gorgeous layup.
Yey! (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas)
The Capitals have been a chore to watch lately. They lost both games of a back-to-back over the weekend, managing to score just one goal in the efforts. Through 180 minutes (through the end of rego on Tuesday), the Caps had scored just two goals in three games. Boring.
Three minutes into overtime agains the Coyotes, Brooks Orpik and Eric Fehr combined to end our suffering. That two-game losing streak is over and, yay, three goals in three games. I can smile again.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is the franchise leader in overtime game-winning goals with fifteen. And when he’s not winning games in sudden death, he’s assisting on the game-ending tallies.
Tonight, Ovechkin wound up to the moon and unleashed a gigantic slapshot from just inside the blue line. Canes goaltender Anton Khudobin made the initial save, but the shot was so heavy, it bounced off his pads right to Nicklas Backstrom. Nicky quickly shot at the yawning net, past a diving Khudobin.
This is a story about redemption. And Alex Ovechkin.
In the first period, the Washington Capitals’ captain had a glorious chance to score goal number thirty-nine (the same one he lost after his last-second game-tying tally was changed to Joel Ward Saturday afternoon).
As Troy Brouwer took out Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard in front of the net, Nicklas Backstrom sent a beautiful tape-to-tape pass to Ovechkin, who was hanging out in The Ovi Spot™. The net was wide open. The degree of difficulty was low. All Ovechkin had to do was send the puck home.
Instead, Ovi hit the puck with his stick slightly off-center, causing the vulcanized rubber to spin end-over-end. It dinged off the cross-bar. Ovi threw his head backwards in disgust.
Photo credit: Bruce Bennett
It was an unlikely game. The Capitals dominated the Islanders for most of the hour, but were without a goal until Troy Brouwer finally beat Nabokov in the waning minutes of the third. Brouwer pulled through again in the final minute of regulation, and then we were treated to a sight we haven’t seen enough of lately.
Alex Ovechkin, who extended his Washington Capitals OTGWG franchise record to 11, carried the puck across neutral, skated to the center lane, used New York’s Travis Hamonic as a screen, and scored the game-winner through Nabokov’s five-hole. Video is below the jump.
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