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Posted at 10:13 AM ET, 03/ 2/2011

Ovechkin's 'vintage' goal clinches a two-point night for Capitals

By Katie Carrera

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)


In recent weeks, Alex Ovechkin has looked like his old self. He's skated with power, driving through opposing forwards and defenders alike, not allowing anything to prohibit him from attacking the net and taking as many shots on net as space will allow.

For the first 55 minutes or so against the Islanders Tuesday night, Ovechkin didn't look like that dynamic superstar, except for his last two shifts.

"Quite frankly, I thought he looked lethargic a little bit in the game," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Usually hes a good passer and he wasn't making the tape-to-tape passes but he got an assist on the tying goal and the last goal was vintage Alex."

There have been inconsistent spurts from arguably every player on the Capitals' roster this season. The difference with someone like Ovechkin is that even after a far-from-perfect game, when it came time to try to attack once more, he did. The overtime goal simply looked like Ovechkin found that the easiest route to the net was the most direct one -- no extra passes or superfluous weaving his way into the zone.

"It was a forward back there but he used his strength and was not to be denied," Boudreau said. "I was telling [assistant coach] Dean [Evason], sometimes superstars don't play good but that's why they're superstars, because they can rise to the moment at the right moment."

Said Ovechkin: "They missed the puck in our zone and I had full speed so it was kind of a pretty goal. I'll take it."

By Katie Carrera  | March 2, 2011; 10:13 AM ET
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin  
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Next: Michal Neuvirth, Semyon Varlamov both not at Capitals' practice; Todd Ford facing shots

Comments

As a whole, the first game after the trade deadline was a snooze-fest, with the exception of the final three minutes of regulation and overtime. It seems that it may take a few games for the roster to settle and gel with the new acquisitions. Moving forward, the biggest concerns still focus around transitioning from the defensive to offensive zone as well as the PP and PK Units (yes, even the exceptional PK Unit needs to improve) performing better.

Posted by: ImWithStupid | March 2, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone talk to Frans Nielson after the game. He was abused so bad on the gw goal I almost felt sorry for him. Almost...

Posted by: capsfansince74 | March 2, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

LOVED the GWG, but I get worried when Ovie plays all by himself like that.

People think he doesn't care or what have you, but every time the team struggles I see him put the weight of the team on his shoulders. He thinks he has to do it all himseld...now I wish he would continue to just play team hockey and not try to fix it himself, but I think it shows that he has the mindset that he cares and holds himself accountable for the teams failures.

Posted by: capscoach | March 2, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Good win, and they had better pulled it off for my birthday yesterday.

my observations, live this time;
-Erskine/Schultz pairing gives up far too many chances.
-Wideman looked really good to me, if he ever got beat, he was able to position himself to still box the guy to the outside. Overall, a good game from him.
-Carlson made quite a few noticeable mistakes last night. I'm hoping with some of the pressure off of him he'll be able to perform with less stress.
-Semin really is an "enigma" sometimes. I saw him throw 3 body checks by the way..I wonder how many NHL.com gave him.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | March 2, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Moving forward, the biggest concerns still focus around transitioning from the defensive to offensive zone as well as the PP and PK Units (yes, even the exceptional PK Unit needs to improve) performing better.

Posted by: ImWithStupid |

My god, our entry through the neutral zone is still atrocious. I figured Wideman would help that out a little bit. Power play was not fun to watch at all last night.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | March 2, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I saw a lot of things that really frustrated me last night and had me asking "If this is what happens against the worst team in the East, what horrors await my Caps in the postseason?"

Then the new guys came up huge.

Sure, Sturm didn't quite finish on the breakaway, but he's got wheels and I think probably better hands than #25.

I particularly liked the "parking ticket" Wideman dished out to Tavares on the PK...heh.
I suggest that Dennis eat a lot of garlic if we face PIT in the playoffs: If he's gonna get sent to the box for breathing on Crosby (assuming Concussy McWobblefall has returned to the Pens lineup by then), he should at least make sure that Crysby knows he's been breathed-on.

Looks like Arnott & Le Brooksi have good timing together.

As for #8's GWG...

O.
M.
G.

Now that's the Ovie we all know and love, basically saying "I've had just about enough of this Bull$#1+" and carrying the team on his back at the end. I especially liked the way he shrugged of Nielsen (sp?) as though the latter were a speck of dandruff, then left him spinning in his wake like a leaf in the jet-wash of an F-18, bro.

A vintage Ovie strike, and probably the leading candidate for the "OMG did Ovie really just do that?!??!" goal of the year.

Last but not least, Neuvy came up big when it counted the most--he had little to no chance to stop the lone goal allowed--he gave the Caps a chance to win even though they may not have deserved to win.


Concerns? Sure, I have some. Caps should have crushed these guys from the first puck-drop. But it's still a win, and NJD can help the Caps' cause tonight by defeating TBL. But so far the trades seem to be paying off in many ways. Like I said earlier, we'll know better after about 10 games or so.

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 2, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Nobody should be happy about last night. yes, a little can be forgiven for having new guys in the lineup, but the theme continues...no passion, no hitting, no teamwork, terrible passing, terrible zone clears, horrible coverage. This team is heading towards another first round exit, and their opponent may make it look easy. Something has to change quickly. Awful game last night vs an awful team. They should be ashamed.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 2, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock - I posted the url to sorensen's interview on the thread after the "live chat" thread thing. But you can find it by googling sorenson arnott csn caps...

@betteroff - yes about Sturm - seems like a happy guy, perhaps that's why Brads liked him...

Arnott's comments are revealing and even watching him speak BEFORE the game, I had the impression that here was an older, wise, and well-intentioned hand that might be able to reach out to Semin. Semin's social awkwardness is well known, apparently, and it does affect how he plays with the team. I'm thinking Arnott is mature enough to realize that yelling and scolding will not work, but actual reaching out and taking an interest will. This guy could be a great addition and perhaps #28 will thrive. And Ovie can learn - he's still young - more and more about what is expected of a leader in the locker room in the years to come...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 2, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

My god, our entry through the neutral zone is still atrocious. I figured Wideman would help that out a little bit. Power play was not fun to watch at all last night.

Posted by: richmondphil2

I agree, but I think that will take a few games of playing with each other for that to get sorted out. Once Green is healthy and Wideman becomes better acclimated with Hannan and the other Caps players, I expect to see a big improvement there.

I saw Wideman making some good plays but you could see that him and Hannan were mis-reading each other and/or hesitant to pass to one another because they were unsure of exactly where the other player was going. That can be sorted out with more practice time and game time playing together.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 2, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I just noticed that we outhit NYI last night 26-12.

I can't remember a game this season where we outhit a team by such a wide margin.

Wideman was tied for the lead in team hits with the Lumberjack at 4 hits.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 2, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Moving forward, the biggest concerns still focus around transitioning from the defensive to offensive zone as well as the PP and PK Units (yes, even the exceptional PK Unit needs to improve) performing better.

Posted by: ImWithStupid |

My god, our entry through the neutral zone is still atrocious. I figured Wideman would help that out a little bit. Power play was not fun to watch at all last night.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | March 2, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

We Can't Catch or Receive a pass. What do you expect. BB would be well served having the players pair up and do mite passing drills across the length of the ice for 10 min. Then work on some full length breakout passes. No other team in the league has as many passes bounce off their sticks as us. I expect it with guys like chimera, but other like ovi, semin, backstrom, its unacceptable.

Posted by: chatton | March 2, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"As a whole, the first game after the trade deadline was a snooze-fest, with the exception of the final three minutes of regulation and overtime." - ImWithStupid

I disagree. Up until the point when the NYI scored, the game was very exciting. The Caps were getting a ton of chances and I thought the Arnott and Sturm chances in the first 5 minutes were great. Overall, the first period was really exciting. After NYI scored, they immediately went into a neutral zone trap and that slowed the pace down a little until late in the 3rd. The 15 minute bookends were great; the 30 minutes in between were a little slow, that's all.

Happy birthday, richmondphil2

Posted by: sabredc | March 2, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I expected somw mistakes from some new guys as they adjusted but I felt Sturm and Arnott made great debuts.

I like the piece on Arnott calling the team out already for things they are doing wrong - I think we all wanted that type of player and its a bonus he plays centre.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | March 2, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

@sabredc - there were a lot of chances. I noticed that after Sturm almost poached that goal the Caps had three very similar opportunities. That's probably good coaching, believe it or not. The Caps staff saw a hole in the Isle's defense and exploited it...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 2, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I like the piece on Arnott calling the team out already for things they are doing wrong - I think we all wanted that type of player and its a bonus he plays centre.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst |

Not Wideman though?

Out of the three, Sturm was the least effective, in my opinion. First period aside.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | March 2, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Caps did miss plenty of chances last night, but taking 8 points from the Isles on the year is nothing to write home about.
There was talk in here yesterday of Ovie not being a leader and missing the skates, calling him "Optional" and yesterday was a perfect example of why he has been criticized.
Regardless of the GWG, he looked like he was hungover the entire game.
It's 2 points, but with 20-some games left its time to stop partying and focus on what everyone knew coming in this season was about, the playoffs.
Perhaps the lack of motivation from Backstrom, Ovie, and some others is that there is nothing they can prove right now. This season is about how much progress they make in the playoffs. Not how many points they have.

Posted by: saltine182 | March 2, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

My name is Jason Arnott, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.


That should get the room fired up.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 2, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Everyone is excited about Arnott's comments, but I'm a bit skeptical. How are things going to be different here than they were with that train wreck of a Devils team? He can talk all he wants, but guys have to be willing to listen.

For the Devils, the turn around didn't occur until the coaching change. Maybe the first person Arnott should speak to is BB.

Posted by: ablake70 | March 2, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Gotta love Pulp Fiction and Gladiator.

Posted by: zmega | March 2, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

OV's ego is tiresome, as is he.

Posted by: doughless | March 2, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

@Rhino40: "Caps should have crushed these guys from the first puck-drop."

You're right. And Vancouver should have crushed the Blue Jackets last night from the first puck drop, but they barely squeaked by in a shootout. And San Jose should have crushed the Avs last night but they too barely squeaked by in a shootout. Boston should have crushed the Sens last night, but they barely squeaked by 1-0. They Flyers should have crushed the Sens on Saturday and they lost 4-1.

Islanders or not, they are still NHL-caliber players. There are no givens.

Posted by: sabredc | March 2, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Ovechkin's goal- sublime

I would be one of the guys that is accused of being a kool-aider or johnny come lately (although I have been a fan since the 70's) but I have two observations about the Caps. First, their passing is putrid at times and second, their is way too many one on one attempts through the neutral zone.

I don't agree with the majority of the assessments concerning the Islanders. They may have been the worse team in the East earlier in the season but the last 30 games or so, they have actually played above .500 hockey.

Posted by: hateisnotafamilyvalue | March 2, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Nice goal. Nice quote about it being pretty. Too bad you mangled it in the print edition. Does anyone actually edit the print edition any more? The number of typos, spelling errors, misdirected jumps, etc., is really quite appalling. I support print journalism, and pay for a subscription, but you're making it hard for me to justify that when I have to come to the blog to read the corrected version of the story.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | March 2, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"You're right. And Vancouver should have crushed the Blue Jackets last night from the first puck drop, but they barely squeaked by in a shootout. And San Jose should have crushed the Avs last night but they too barely squeaked by in a shootout. Boston should have crushed the Sens last night, but they barely squeaked by 1-0. They Flyers should have crushed the Sens on Saturday and they lost 4-1."

---

For the teams you mention, however, this is the exception and not the rule. For the Caps, this isn't an individual data point, it's a pattern.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad we won, I'll take 2 points over anyone any day. But that game was a disaster.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 2, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Most teams are pretty bad on entry in the zone these days. Look at the scores of the games last night. Look at the goals for last year and compare this year. Everyone is playing really tight D and The Goalie Pads seem to get bigger.

Posted by: pkme | March 2, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go CapsLets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps Lets Go Caps.

A WIN is a WIN all the time.

Posted by: ballgame21 | March 2, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

check out Ovie's footwork on the game winning goal. mind boggling..

Posted by: wewintheylose1 | March 2, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

We're not the best @ a lot of things.
But one on one with full speed through the neutral zone, we're (OVIE) the best.

Posted by: Rocc00 | March 2, 2011 6:45 PM | Report abuse

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