When Alex Ovechkin’s first goal of the season went in the net behind Pittsburgh goaltender Brent Johnson, not everyone saw it. The referees missed the goal as the play unfolded, when Ovechkin placed a deft deflection on a wicked point shot by Mike Green, sending the puck speeding into the upper-right corner of the cage.

Alex Ovechkin knocks Pittsburgh’s Joe Vitale off his skates in the second period. (Jason Cohn/Reuters)

Ovechkin skated just 18:55 against the Penguins in Washington’s 3-2 overtime win Thursday, but he was a physical presence throughout the contest. He finished with a game-high six shots and had three shots on goal, along with only one attempt that didn’t reach its target.

While Pittsburgh’s defenders pride themselves on shutting Ovechkin down, and have done a good job of it recently, Washington’s captain started to look a little more like himself against the rivals.

“I thought he was a lot more engaged in the game,” Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I thought he was a lot better, working both ends of the ice and really trying. Sometimes you really try, you get nothing. Sometimes you really try, you get four goals. And he had some shots on goal and you could see progress all the time. I think that’s okay.”