Overshadowed in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Islanders was a strong outing by Alex Ovechkin. He was, like his teammates, best early in the game, but Ovechkin had the forceful presence that has come to be expected from the star left wing over his career.
Against the Hurricanes on Friday night, Ovechkin seemed uncharacteristically hesitant to shoot in multiple situations, most curiously when he was open on the power play. He finished that outing with 20 minutes 13 seconds of ice time, a pair of assists and plus-one rating.
Asked after that game if he needed to score to be happy with his game, Ovechkin said no.
“No, I feel pretty good about my game,” he said Friday. “If I don’t have chances, of course I was pissed off . . . but I like how our line play offensively, defensively, especially” against Carolina.
On Saturday night, however, Ovechkin recorded his first goal since Oct. 29 in Vancouver and forced goaltender Rick DiPietro to make two other saves. Ovechkin’s goal late in the first period against New York was on a rocket shot about four feet inside the blue line and was set up by his play along the wall.
Ovechkin finished with only one point against the Islanders but in 20 shifts and 17:50 of ice time he was a consistent presence. He took the lead in standing up for a teammate, pursuing P.A. Parenteau after the Islanders forward hit Roman Hamrlik into the boards from behind.
Hamrlik was slow to get up but ultimately finished the game with 21:44 of ice time. Ovechkin took a two-minute roughing minor in defense of his teammate, but it was something one might expect from a captain.
“I think last couple games I feel pretty good about myself,” Ovechkin said. “I feel the puck well, I see the ice well and again today my shot was very good, I have couple shots . . . DiPietro make pretty good saves and they block the shots. I think our line, we have couple chances, but if we have chance, we have to score.”