Collectively, the Capitals improved over the course of the game Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets. The top line and particularly Alex Ovechkin were no exception.
The group didn’t make much impact in a first period that the Jets dominated, except when their passes went awry. Through 20 minutes the top line of Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin had combined for one shot on goal and one shot that missed.
Into the second and finally third period, the group started to make more chances for itself and suddenly Ovechkin became more of a consistent presence, churning through the offensive zone. They finished with six shots on goal, seven attempts that missed and two that were blocked.
When Ovechkin finally cashed in, with just 1 minute and 14 seconds remaining in regulation, it was Backstrom and Marcus Johansson who helped set up the game-winning tally.
Backstrom forced a turnover by Winnipeg captain Andrew Ladd in the neutral zone near the offensive blueline and would feed the puck to Johansson as opposing players swarmed him. Johansson found himself on a 2 on 2 with Ovechkin and the two forwards would cross paths as they made their way toward the Jets’ net.
The second-year center left the puck on the outside of the right faceoff circle, where Ovechkin picked it up for a decisive shot. It marked Ovechkin’s 10th goal and 22nd point of the season on a night where he received the Winnipeg crowd’s customary boos and jeers reserved for an opponent’s top player.
“Finally [the puck] go through, actually didn’t see the puck when I see only light,” Ovechkin said. “It was important goal for the team and I’m happy I scored it.”