Ovechkin's OT Goal Gives Him 100 Points
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
BOSTON, April, 10 -- Alex Ovechkin is known for his exuberant celebrations. The rookie may have outdone himself on Monday night.
One minute 30 seconds from going an unprecedented seventh consecutive game without a goal, Ovechkin scored a dramatic one when he beat Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas in overtime to lift the Capitals to a 2-1 victory at TD Banknorth Garden.
Ovechkin's 49th goal also gave him 100 points, making him the first rookie in 13 years to reach the milestone. With one more goal the 20-year-old Russian will join Teemu Selanne as the only first-year players to reach 50 goals and 100 points. Ovechkin and the Capitals have four games remaining.
"After the second period, Coach [Glen Hanlon] came to me and said, 'Hey Alex, don't think about it,' " Ovechkin said as he wiped the remainder of a shaving cream pie from his face. "He said, 'Just enjoy your time.' I listened to this. I don't think about it. I just went to ice and played how I played before."
Ovechkin's goal rescued a Capitals team that had been badly outplayed through two periods. The flashy winger controlled a pass from Dainius Zubrus inside his own blueline, raced down the sideboards before cutting across the ice and eluding two Bruins defenders. From about 30 feet, he whipped a wrist shot past Thomas (25 saves) from the middle of the right circle at 3:30 of the extra session.
"It was great play, great goal by a great player," Hanlon said.
Ovechkin also became just the third Capital to record 100 points, the first since Mike Gartner finished with 102 in 1984-85, and moved into a tie with Mario Lemieux for fifth place among all-time rookies in points. Selanne had 76 goals and 132 points for Winnipeg in 1992-93; Joe Juneau logged 102 points for Boston that same season.
After scoring, Ovechkin circled the net and repeatedly pumped his fists before leaping and slamming his exhausted body against the glass. It followed a similar script to his previous celebrations. But this one was different. He expended more energy, and he also paused for a long moment to roll his head back and lift his eyes skyward.
"It was because I didn't score and I had lots of moments," Ovechkin said of his gesture. "Finally I score goal, and I say, 'Thank you, God!' And we win game."
Capitals captain Jeff Halpern was as happy as anyone to see Ovechkin get point No. 100. But that didn't stop him from hitting Ovechkin in the face with a shaving cream pie during a television interview outside the locker room.
"Everyone knows how good he is and that he was going to get" to 100 points, Halpern said. "But I like to keep him a little humble."
Ovechkin added: "I saw something white coming at me. I thought, 'Damn, he got me.' "