Alex Ovechkin named NHL’s first star of the week


(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The NHL named Alex Ovechkin its first star of the season-opening week Monday, recognizing an explosive three-game performance that saw the Capitals winger jump out to the league lead in goals (4) and points (6). He also leads the league in shots on goal with 24.

Ovechkin said he’s glad to be getting good results, but that — after a 1-2 start — his “team’s results have to be better, 100 percent.”

“My teammates and my linemates give me good chances to score goals and to shoot the puck,” he said of his ample early-season opportunities. “Everybody knows I like to shoot the puck — so it’s good for me to get touches.”

Of the four touches he’s turned into goals, three came during power plays. Five of Ovechkin’s six points have also come in five-on-four situations, numbers that embody the disparity between the Capitals’ power-play and even strength scoring prowess so far this season.

“We can’t wait for the power play all the time, that’s what we’ve been talking about and we just have to make changes in the five-on-five game,” Ovechkin said. “Of course we still have chances to score goals, but we have to use it, we have to score.”

Ovechkin’s award-winning opening week came hours after he returned from a weekend trip to Greece, where he carried the Olympic torch for his native Russia. After leaving for Greece on Friday and returning to D.C. Sunday evening, Ovechkin showed no signs of jetlag from the whirlwind weekend jaunt: He scored a goal and tallied an assist in the Capitals’ season opener in Chicago Tuesday night.

Ovechkin said he felt good this week despite the grueling trip, partially because he purposely tried not to let his body clock switch time zones with the rest of him.

“When I flew there, I didn’t change my time change, and on the way back I didn’t sleep at all on the plane, I took a nap like 30 minutes,” Ovechkin said. “That probably helped me a lot.”

Canadiens center Lars Eller (three goals, two assists), and Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (.50 goals against average and a shutout in two games), were the second and third stars of the week, respectively.

Chelsea Janes covers high school sports for The Washington Post.
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Neil Greenberg · October 7, 2013

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