It feels like it has been a while since Alex Ovechkin had a did-you-just-see-that goal, but consider that appetite sufficently filled. He beat three defenders before falling down with a stick his gut and putting one past Buffalo goaltender Patrick Lalime.
Here is some of the reaction about the goal from after the game:
“This was a determination goal,” Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said. “He got it, made a move and they were checking him and he was losing the puck, but he was just determined. It was like, ‘They took one away from me, and they’re not taking another one away.’ ”
“Unbelievable,” Caps forward Viktor Kozlov said. “That guy is so strong, so hungry to score the goals. He scores amazing goals.”
“It was tough, we missed maybe three stick checks on him, but he’s a good player and he’s going to finish those opportunities,” Buffalo center Derek Roy said. “He is strong, big, fast, he works hard and he’s got a great shot. You know he keeps his feet moving all the time and we just got to be better in those situations.”
“I think he can score any way and he showed it tonight,” Caps goalie Jose Theodore said. “I think Patrick played a really solid game and kept his team in it. They had a chance to come back because of his play, but when you have Ovechkin coming in 100 mph, it is pretty tough for a goalie.”
And finally from the man himself…
“It was very cool goal,” Ovechkin said. “I just made some moves. Puck was probably neutral, so I won the battle. I was tired and I just fell so I shoot. … You always want to do some crazy things. It was a great goal, and I’m happy it happened to me.”
Oh yeah, the Caps won 3-2 and it was the game-winning goal. Some other stuff happened in this game, but nothing was more memorable that that.
There hasn’t been a whole lot of discussion about this, nationally, locally or otherwise, but Mr. Ovechkin has probably pulled the No. 8 car into the lead of the Hart Trophy race with his play the past few days. He was certainly in the top few, and he might have been No. 1 to some people already, but his virtuoso at the Garden combined with that goal tonight should start the back-to-back MVP train running.
About that other stuff:
*Bryan Helmer had two assists, including his backhanded pass to start Ovechkin’s rush and was named the No. 1 star of the game. He said it was the first time in his NHL career he has been named a star.
*The top line was awesome. Ovechkin (eight shots), Viktor Kozlov (goal, four shots, great work along the boards) and Nicklas Backstrom (perfect pass to Kozlov) dominated the Sabres on nearly every shift.
*Theodore now has five straight solid periods in a row. He stopped 22 of 24 shots, and just looked a little more steady in net than he did before the hip injury.
“I thought he played really solid,” Boudreau said. “I didn’t think there was anything he could do on the two goals.”
Added Theodore on carrying over his play from the Rangers game: “For sure – I think the last two periods were really critical. I think I did a lot of good things the last two periods. It was good to have a chance to get right back at it tonight.”