When the puck popped out to Karl Alzner on the left point after the Capitals had worked the play along the boards in the offensive zone, Coach Adam Oates wanted the defenseman to shoot.
Alzner had other ideas, and sent a pass down low in the left circle to Alex Ovechkin. The coach was shouting at the blueliner.
“I was actually mad, I was yelling at Alzy for not shooting at the time,” Oates said with a laugh. Assistant coach “Calle [Johansson] gave me a hard time. ‘Oh how can he pass that shot up? Oh, nice goal.’”
As things turned out, it was the right decision. Ovechkin ripped a shot from the awkward angle that found room in a shrinking space above Antti Niemi’s left shoulder to put the Capitals on the board. Washington eventually lost the game, 2-1, in a shootout but Ovechkin’s tally, his 33rd of the year, was the type of goal only he can score.
“That was a fantastic shot,” Oates said. “That’s him.”
Said Ovechkin: “I just shoot the puck and it goes in. It’s kind of one of those shots, lucky and a good shot both.”