As the final seconds of the Caps’ win over Tampa Bay ticked away on Sunday night, Alex Ovechkin scooped up the puck in open ice and headed toward the Lightning goal.
Now, at this point, what Ovechkin did with the puck was sort of irrelevant. He could have juggled it on his stick, or skated a jig around it, or slid facefirst on the ice and raced the puck to the blue line. The game was virtually finished, and the puck was not going to re-enter the Capitals’ zone. Still, might as well get another goal, in the process tying Steven Stamkos for the NHL’s goal-scoring lead, which is what Ovechkin was determined to do.
Except one particularly crafty Lightning player — taking a page from Joe Flacco’s Super Bowl plan — came up with a particularly crafty way to stop Ovechkin.
This was forward Alex Killorn, displaying all the subtlety of Gregg Doyel in a press conference. I mean, it only made sense. He had the stick in his hand, and Ovechkin was right there in front of him. It would be like holding a fork and knife when a cow strolled by, and not trying to take a bite.
The worst part, if you ask me, was that Killorn failed even to interrupt the play. You’ve got to get your money’s worth there. Like, if you get fired and decide to lose your mind and exit in glory, you have to smash at least one piece of office equipment and probably fling a laptop too, not just rip a piece of 8.5-by-11 paper into four roughly equal parts and defiantly fling them into the air.
Hey, look at those pretty pieces of paper fluttering to the ground.
Anyhow, Killorn was easily busted by the officials, meaning Ovechkin had a goal regardless. “According to the NHL rule 56.7, Killorn’s obstruction attempt made the play result in an automatic goal for the Capitals,” as Katie Carrera wrote. At which point Ovechkin really should have started an immediate celebration and played air guitar whilst staring backward at the Tampa Bay bench as he and the puck approached their final destination in tandem.
Instead, he chose a more conventional finishing move, as a forlorn Killorn no doubt lamented his failure to put banana peels and oil slicks and four sticks of dynamite in front of his net.
And then Maria Kirilenko celebrated. Had Killorn been there, he would no doubt have attempted to intercept her high-five attempts. And failed.