Alex Ovechkin’s 40th goal of the season might not make many highlight reels. It wasn’t the usual type of tally that the star winger seems to score, either. But it was precisely the type of play the Capitals needed as Ovechkin was rewarded for driving the net in search of a rebound.
Karl Alzner had put a shot on net while Nicklas Backstrom was vying for positioning in front with Jets defenseman Tobias Enstrom. Backstrom worked to get two shots off, both of which Ondrej Pavelec stopped, before Enstrom dumped him into the Winnipeg netminder.
As they piled up in the crease, the puck trickled out of the blue paint, allowing Ovechkin to swoop in for a sharp-angle shot that went above all the bodies and into the net to give the Capitals a lead at 7:46 of the third. His tally would stand as the game-winner in Washington’s 4-2 win over the Jets.
“You can see when we have traffic, when we have one or two guys in front of the net the rebound is there we just have to find them,” Ovechkin said. “It looks simple, but it’s hard. We have to work hard. We have to put in our mind that’s how we have to play in the offensive zone.”
In addition to helping the Capitals clinch an important win, the goal gave Ovechkin his sixth 40-goal season of his career. It’s the first time since the 2009-10 season, which was also an Olympic year, that he has reached the plateau.
“It’s good number. I’m pretty sure it’s not my last goal, so I don’t want to stop,” Ovechkin said. “I just want to keep going.”