The Washington Times - November 6, 2011, 12:05PM

UNIONDALE, N.Y. | Had the Capitals held on to beat the Islanders 2-0, the narrative would’ve looked something like this:

Tomas Vokoun enjoyed yet another strong game for the Caps, but this was by far Alex Ovechkin’s best game of the young season. The zip in his step, the video game-like moves and his visible leadership skills showed themselves Saturday night.


Instead, the Caps left Long Island with their third loss in five games, one plagued by some goaltending blunders and defensive miscues that cost them dearly. But that shouldn’t take away from what should be a sharp uptick in the captain’s game.

Ovechkin looked to be flying in the first period, weaving through Islanders defenders like the guy who won a couple Hart Trophies and earned the status as one of the most exciting players in the league. He scored on a one-timer from above the circles that New York goalie Rick DiPietro had no chance of stopping.

“I think last couple games I feel pretty good about myself,” Ovechkin said. “I feel the puck well, I see the ice well. Tonight my shot was very good.”

His coach had a positive assessment, as well.

“I thought he played well the whole game,” Bruce Boudreau said. “He had some jump on him. He could’ve had three or four goals, I thought.”

Ovechkin didn’t have that kind of elite night that would have made the national story something to the effect of, “Two games after benching, Ovechkin strikes back.” The captain lamented his missed chances that could have probably put the game out of reach in the first period.

Ovechkin’s snap shot on a rush at 13:57 of the first was a good attempt on net, but he couldn’t pick a corner to score his second of the night. Then at 14:21, he deked around the defense and got in on goal – but DiPietro got a piece of the shot to deflect it out of play.

He had three shots in the first period but not a single one after that. And while Ovechkin praised DiPietro’s stops, he also realizes the expectation is on him to put the puck in the net.

“I think our line play well today, have couple chances,” he said. “But if we have a chance, I have to score.”