Alex Ovechkin barely had any space to turn and take a shot in the high slot during the third period of Thursday’s game in Philadelphia. The Flyers’ Max Talbot was positioned so close and tried to prevent the Capitals’ left wing from taking a shot, but Ovechkin got the shot off, sending the puck knuckling (perhaps off his opponent’s stick) into the net.
Neither that goal nor his first of the game (when a stuff attempt by Nicklas Backstrom was stopped by Ilya Bryzgalov but the puck found its way to an open Ovechkin on the other side of the net) were overly dramatic, but they counted all the same.
“Always nice to score goals,” Ovechkin said. “I have a couple chances last couple games but I didn’t score; finally it goes in so I’m kind of happy. Again I think our line find good ways to get the puck in the zone find each other behind the net in front of the net. . . . It’s kind of nice to see how we play.”
Both goals were followed by distinctive whoops as Ovechkin kissed his hand and pointed to the sky. The Capitals’ offense was rolling, even if it was a matter of getting a few good bounces, and so was their captain.
“I think his enthusiasm, when he’s scoring, rubs off on everybody,” Coach Bruce Boudreau said after Washington defeated Philadelphia 5-2. “You’ve just gotta make sure that you keep him in line because sometimes when he’s scoring he wants to go, go, go.”
The pair of goals against the Flyers gave Ovechkin three on the season and gives him five points in six games thus far. It was his first multi-point game of the season, but whether it stands as a game that sparked an offensive breakout for Ovechkin we’ll have to wait and see.
It’s no secret that when Ovechkin is stepping up his physical play, in the right place to score a goal and promptly celebrate he’s more at ease. Against the Flyers, he looked comfortable with his game and found ways to put himself in position to score or at least create opportunities.
“He’s like any other hockey player [when he scores],” Boudreau said. “He’s more excited, he’s not as frustrated. So I mean, when he’s playing with confidence rather than lack of it — when he’s scoring it makes life easier for him.”
Asked if the Ovechkin that was revved up against the Flyers and recording two goals was who he was accustomed to facing as an opponent, goaltender Tomas Vokoun said the star left wing doesn’t necessarily need to be scoring bushels baskets of goals to be a standout player.
“He’s got so much pressure from everybody to score 60 goals and get 100 points,” Vokoun said. “To me the best players in the game are [Henrik] Zetterberg, [Pavel] Datsyuk and those guys, they’re not 100 point guys but they play solid game both ways. I think it’s he’s trying to learn to play both ways and be more useful to his team maybe than he was in the past.
“For him, people adjust to you so he’s got to adjust his game a little bit but he’s still awesome player with great shots lots of strength speed,” Vokoun continued. “All it takes to get hot and he can score many goals. In five, 10 games we could be talking about how many goals he has and all that.”