Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ovechkin Gets Revenge...And Then Some!

*Alexander has a GR8 night; tallies 4 goals and an assist in a 5-4 Caps win.

If this is how Alexander Ovechkin rebounds after a bad game, then there is basically no chance of stopping him for the rest of his career.

Alexander the Gr8 figured in on all 5 goals in the Capitals 5-4 victory over Montreal in D.C. tonight, as he scored 4 GOALS to go along with his one assist. It was Ovechkin's second career 4-goal and 5-point game, as he previously turned in the feat on December 29th at Ottawa. Ovechkin leads the NHL with 43 goals and took over the points lead with 70.

Ovechkin came out of the gate running. After taking an early (accidental) high stick to the face courtesy Alex Kovalev, he bulldozed Steve Begin with a legal yet devastating open ice check that sent the latter flying onto his backside.

Ovechkin then got himself on the scoresheet, as he would do 5 times on the evening, by opening the scoring and then adding another after a Kozlov goal which he had set up to make it 3-0.

But the Habs wouldn't lay down and die, a quality we've seen on multiple occasions this season from our "glorieux". Sergei Kostitsyn would cap a nice passing play with a goal, as Lapierre got it to Latendresse, and Latendresse got it cross crease to the unmarked youngster, although it did appear that Latendresse was going for the shot initially. In any case, the pass was the right play as it led to a goal.

Big brother Andrei then got a PPG with 0.7 seconds remaining in the 2nd, as he coralled a Kolzig rebound from a Markov shot and beat the keeper 5-hole as he moved laterally in desperation. That goal had some significance, as it marked the first time that a sibling duo scored in a game for Montreal since Pete and Frank Mahovolich did it in 1974.

Midway through the 3rd, Ovechkin would restore the insurance with his 3rd of the night. Going one on one with Mark Streit, Ovechkin held, cut in at the blue line, and released an almost unbelievably accurate wrister that went through Streit's legs and over Huet's left shoulder...He put that one where Uncle Jimmy keeps the Cheez Whiz.

However, 1:17 later, Guillaume Latendresse would go from passer to scorer in this game, as he took a feed from Sergei Kostitsyn and outwaited Kolzig to slot it home into the gaping cage.

Then, in uncommon fashion, the Habs pulled the goalie (not uncommon) and TIED THE GAME! (VERY UNCOMMON!) Plekanec had the initial shot, which got lost in the paraphenalia of a sprawling Kolzig, and as Latendresse waited patiently in the crease for a miracle, that miracle came. The puck was MIRACULOUSLY jarred loose, and wound up directly on Latendresse's stick, who buried it from about a whole centimeter out.

The Habs somehow pulled together and also pulled the rabbit out of the hat to earn a point in Washington, but that is as much as they would get, as Alex Ovechkin once again took matters into his own hands and converted a nice pass from Jeff Shultz who pinched down low to set up the game winner.

The Caps were a much better team on this night than they were on Tuesday, and if they can continue to play the way they did, they really do have as good a chance as Carolina or Atlanta to clinch the Southeast Division Title and clinch home-ice for the 1st round of the playoffs. They outshot the Canadiens 38-21 in the win. Alex Ovechkin had 6 shots on goal and logged a whopping 24:52 of ice time, all while finishing at +4 and dishing out a game-high 5 hits.

That's domination. That's downright scary.

Ovechkin has now scored over 40 goals in each of his first three NHL seasons. Saku Koivu played in his 700th career game, all for Montreal. The Habs will now return home to prepare for back-to-back weekend games on Superbowl weekend, 1st playing host to the NY Islanders Saturday (2pm) before playing host to the NY Rangers on Sunday (also at 2pm). Sunday's game is the only game scheduled on Superbowl Sunday...and that's obviously no coincidence.

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