Filed at 12:56 a.m.; updated at 11:38 a.m.
With 62 seconds remaining in regulation in a one-goal game it’s rather unusual for the Washington Capitals to try to force overtime without Alex Ovechkin on the ice. Tuesday night en route to a 5-4 overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks, though, that’s precisely what happened.
When play resumed after the puck went into the benches, Coach Bruce Boudreau sent out defenseman John Carlson and Dennis Wideman along with forwards Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich, Joel Ward and Nicklas Backstrom, who eventually scored the tying goal. It was a reflection on who was playing well in the game, Boudreau said afterward.
Boudreau was asked specifically why he didn’t use Ovechkin and the coach pulled no punches.
“I thought other guys were better than him and I thought there was just a chance that other guys might score the goal,” Boudreau said. “I’ve got to put out the guys that I think are going to score the goal and 99 percent of the time Alex is the guy I think is going to score the goal. I just didn’t think Alex was going to score the goal at that time tonight. You go with your gut feeling, thinking that line is going pretty good and I got lucky.”
Ovechkin was on the ice and earned the primary assist for Backstrom’s game-winner in overtime, but it still wasn’t the greatest outing for the star left wing. He finished with that lone assist and an even rating on the night as he was on the ice for Anaheim’s third goal as well. Ovechkin played 17 minutes 51 seconds and finished with four shots on goal, along with two attempts that were blocked and three that missed the net.
Ovechkin did not speak to reporters after the game but during his post-game interview, on the bench with Versus, he had this to say: “Brooks Laich line play unbelievable. They dominate them. Again they deserved to be there when important moments coming.”
Boudreau said he couldn’t put a finger on what was wrong exactly with Ovechkin. “I don’t know,” Boudreau said. “It just wasn’t working for him.”
But another video clip that was part of the national broadcast of Tuesday’s game, showed Ovechkin on the bench during the timeout the Capitals called with 1:27 remaining where the star left wing looked displeased and mutters what appears to be an expletive.
You can see the video clip and judge for yourself here. The instance on the bench begins at the 53 second mark of the video.
— In other news, Troy Brouwer didn’t play the final 2:16 of regulation and did not appear in overtime after suffering an apparent right shoulder injury when he was hit by Anaheim’s Toni Lydman. Brouwer underwent surgery in the offseason to repair his right shoulder. Boudreau didn’t offer an update on the winger saying “I don’t know.”