Alex Ovechkin may have only played 15 minutes 14 seconds in the Capitals’ 2-1 win in Game 6, but when several shifts contain incredible scoring chances, it easily felt like more. From the beginning Ovechkin, like the Capitals as a whole, was visibly amped up.
He scored a power-play goal 1:28 into the contest on a one-timer from the slot that was the result of some rapid passing around the perimeter by Dennis Wideman, Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom, to give Washington a 1-0 lead. It’s not a place Ovechkin usually occupies on the power play, but something the Capitals decided to try.
“It’s just one of those changes that we made,” Coach Dale Hunter said. “We thought Ovi, with his big shot there, could get a shot off and the play — one of their players fell and really left an opening. A shot from there by Ovi doesn’t miss very often.”
The tally marked Ovechkin’s 30th career playoff goal, tying him for the all-time franchise record with Peter Bondra. Ovechkin also became the first player to record 30 goals in his first 50 playoff games since Joe Sakic did so in 1997.
See a video of the goal below:
On his first shift after the goal, Ovechkin crunched Carl Hagelin and sent the Rangers’ rookie through the partially open door on to the Capitals bench. Then at 12:44 of the first period, Ovechkin had another stellar chance when a shot from in tight went off Henrik Lundqvist’s shoulder and clanked off the cross bar.
“I think everybody. It’s not about me; it’s all about everybody,” Ovechkin said when asked about the start to the game. “We wanna play good in playoff game. Of course I’m gonna do my best and everybody gonna do their best. You can see how we start hockey game where we put puck deep and finish our checks and move our legs, get penalty and score goal.”
Ovechkin’s ice time dipped to under five minutes in the second period, in part because of the Capitals’ time on the penalty kill in that frame, but in the third he had another phenomenal scoring chance.
Ovechkin raced into the Rangers’ zone and was knocked down by Ryan McDonagh, but sitting on the ice didn’t deter the star left wing. With 5:04 gone in the third, he took a shot while sitting that brought back memories of ‘The goal’ that he scored in 2006 at Phoenix. He didn’t score, but it was hard not to think about how loud Verizon Center would have been if he did.
In all, Ovechkin finished with a goal, three shots on goal, five hits and three blocked shots – one in each period.
“Obviously that’s huge for our team, Ovi scoring, but him needing to step up — there’s a lot more to hockey than scoring goals,” Braden Holtby said. “You know, he blocked a big shot at the end of last game, and it’s the little things. We’re not too concerned. We can score goals as a group and as long as he’s doing the little things that everyone else needs to do, that’s all that matters.”