Perhaps one of the biggest things to come out of Sunday night's 3-2 win over Carolina for the Capitals was that it was a strong game for Alex Ovechkin. Not only did he snap his latest goal-scoring drought at eight games (he had a nine-game stretch without a goal from Nov. 17 to Dec. 2) but he created plays and appeared to have a little more spring in his step.
Ovechkin's goal was more opportunistic than highlight-reel worthy when the puck bounced off a body in front of the Carolina net and directly to him, but unlike many chances recently he didn't miss, have a stick break or have the puck roll of his stick. The shot connected and beat Cam Ward as he went across the goal mouth.
Equally impressive though was the hop in Ovechkin's stride when he snared a loose puck in the middle of the second period to help create a rush that would lead to David Steckel's goal that put Washington up 2-1. That's the sort of energy and look that opponents talk about when discussing Ovechkin, that head of steam and seeming undeniable energy that in this case just overwhelmed Jamie McBain who was out late on a shift.
Over the past month, various players and Coach Bruce Boudreau have suggested that it is only a matter of time for Ovechkin to start filling the nets and racking up the point totals. Perhaps a strong all around game against the Hurricanes, finishing with a game-high eight shots (only two missed attempts and three blocked), is the first step in that direction.
FROM THE POST
Check out the recap from the Capitals' 3-2 win over the Hurricanes last night.
AROUND THE WEB
Ted Leonsis on the 'compelling event' that is the Winter Classic. (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)
RMNB with a breakdown of the Caps' prospects playing in the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo.
Also from RMNB, a lengthy translated interview by prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov with Sport Express.