Mike Knuble discusses Ovechkin's empty-netter
Shortly after Alex Ovechkin scored an empty-netter with less than a second left against Pittsburgh on Tuesday, filling D.C. fans with euphoria, putting the Caps up by three and tying him with Sidney Crosby for the NHL goal-scoring lead, I suggested on Twitter that some Pens fans would be a bit salty. I guess I thought that padding a two-goal lead with less than a second left might be frowned upon.
But no one seems to have objected, and when I asked master-of-all-hockey-wisdom Mike Knuble whether anyone would have issues with such a move, he said no way.
"Not in a two-goal game," he said. "I don't know, guys are gonna do it. if you were right in front of the goal and stopped and watched the clock come down to a half second and then took it in, that might look bad. But you're beating the clock. You're over center ice, it's a legit chance, you're gonna take it. It's a free one for everybody. I don't think a lot of guys would turn down that one, turn sideways and skate sideways with it. No. You're gonna finish."
Knuble was also asked about Ovechkin's quest for the Ross and Richard trophies in the season's final days; both the goal-scoring and points race seem likely to go down to the final days of the season.
"I mean, there's a pressure there," Knuble said. "You know, Bruce probably feels a bit of pressure, and the guys playing with him, especially even the other night with the empty net, you're feeling like you've got to get him the puck, because we're in Pittsburgh, and the race is coming down to it. You know, if he does what he does, those things will happen. He doesn't have to do anything different. He's not going to be squeezing his stick any tighter or anything. He's a confident guy and a confident scorer....
"We don't talk about it. I mean, you're there, might as well win it. You're right there, a goal out."
I pointed out that Ovechkin did seem particularly anxious to come up with a goal in the final moments against Pittsburgh, and Knuble didn't dispute that point.
"I would agree with that," he said with a smile. "He picks up the pace a little bit, huh? He was fighting hard for the puck. I didn't realize there was .2 left. I was like Yeesh, cutting it close."
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