Ovechkin Show Back in Full Force
After notching a goal and an assist in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada, Alexander Ovechkin and the Caps took their game to an incredibly high level tonight burying the Boston Bruins, 10-2, at the Verizon Center on the national hockey game of the week on Versus in HD. Ovechkin had a hat-trick and an assist in the first period alone en route to a five point night (he set up Nicklas Backstrom’s goal in the 2nd period on a long outlet pass). This game was all Caps from the outset as recently acquired forward Matt Cooke set the tone beating Boston goalie Tim Thomas just 32 seconds into the game with a great shot up high. After the Cooke goal it was the Ovechkin & Backstrom show along with some beautiful passes from Viktor Kozlov and Alexander Semin that helped push the lead to 6-0 after one period. Thomas was 3-0 with a .962 save percentage in three games last week and the Bruins were red hot, riding a six game winning streak coming into this contest but were fed to the wolves against Washington.
Ovechkin continues to lead the NHL in goals scored with 52 and he has a 10 goal lead over Atlanta Thrasher forward Ilya Kovalchuk. The Great #8 is the fastest player to 50 goals in a season in 10 years and now leads the NHL in overall scoring with 90 points. Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin is just two points behind.
The only down news of the night was that recently acquired goalie Cristobal Huet left after two periods due to mild back spasms. Olie Kolzig finished the game stopping all five shots he faced in the third period. On the night the Caps outshot Boston 34-27 but the game was much more lopsided than that, as evidenced by the final score.
Tonight’s win puts the Caps at 70 points, three behind the Southeast Division leading Carolina Hurricanes. The Caps have one game in hand on Carolina. This win was big for Washington in that the team really came out and played hard much like they did Friday against New Jersey and unlike the effort they gave early on against the Maple Leafs on Saturday night. The Caps must have this type of intensity from here on out to make the playoffs because the schedule is not in their favor right now.
The remainder of the week is tough for Washington as they travel to Buffalo on Wednesday and have a rematch with the Bruins in Boston on Saturday before coming home to face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday (and Sydney Crosby just may be back for that one). Meanwhile the Hurricanes travel to hapless Atlanta on Wednesday and host Buffalo on Saturday.