In fits and spurts, Alex Ovechkin looked like a star. Firing shots on the power play and skating through the offensive zone, at times he looked like the best player in the world.
But other times Saturday night, he wasn’t himself. That was more than likely a result of a rough week that included Ovechkin learning of the death of an uncle and having to fly from Washington to Moscow on Tuesday and then back Friday.
Ovechkin, who entered with four goals and three assists in six career opening night games, assisted on Brooks Laich’s power-play goal in the third period. But he and his linemates, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble did not score.
“Emotion was there, but I tried to get into the game right away and I tried to move my legs all the time,” Ovechkin said. “I think our line played well and we have good chances to score goals. But sometimes you just can’t put puck in net.”
Any thought that coach Bruce Boudreau would have to limit Ovechkin’s minutes went out the window. As usual, the left wing skated over 20 minutes (22 shifts for 20:38 of ice time) and naturally led all skaters in power-play time.
But the coach’s review of Ovechkin’s night was mixed – with a look-ahead to Monday’s game against the Lightning.
“Considering the days off and everything, I thought he was fine. I thought he was skating,” Boudreau said. “He had a couple good chances to score. He’ll be better Monday than he was today. I thought today he was adequate.”
Ovechkin aims to blow “adequate” out against Tampa Bay.