The Caps peppered Joey MacDonald with 47 shots and earned a 5-2 win with some dirty goals. On to the notes:
*Alex Ovechkin says it was broken skate that knocked him out of the final 7:04 of the first period and Bruce Boudreau called it an “equipment malfunction.” Maybe it was, but when Ovechkin was hit the first time back on the ice, he reacted like a guy whose left arm/shoulder was hurting. After that, I didn’t see any visible effects of a lingering injury.
Obviously, he went on to have quite a game. He finished with 11 shots on net and even though he wasn’t credited with any hits, he went to the box twice for inflicting damage on Islanders players.
“He is the leader of the team,” Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said. “When the leader sees everything else around him not functioning the way he’d like it, he’s got to be the one who stands up and says, ‘Get on my back and follow me.’ ”
*Donald Brashear said he talked to other players and even GM George McPhee about his scoring slump. Brashear enetered the night with zero goals, but he got the game-winner after a nifty play by Karl Alzner to bank the puck off the end boards instead of shooting into a mass of bodies from the left point.
“I was even sure if I touched it,” Brashear said. “It went in so slowly. … It just bounced and went toward the goalie. It looked like a big piece of cheese.”
*47 shots were four more than any other game this season, and the first time the Caps had more than 40 since the opener at Atlanta.
*Milan Jurcina wouldn’t normally be on the ice for a power play, but with four regular defensemen out of the lineup, he picked up his first extra-man point this season on Ovechkin’s goal. The rugged defenseman had only three goals and one assist on the power play in 221 career games before tonight. Jurcina also added another assist — his first two-assist night of his career.
*Boudreau said he didn’t know the rule about a goal being disallowed if it goes in off of an referee.
*Boudreau on Karl Alzner: “He came to me and he said ‘I was terrible last game, what do I have to do?’ and we had a little talk. That’s what great athletes do — they redeem themselves. They come back and they good and I though Karl was as good as he’s played for us so far.”
*Ovechkin on passing to buddy Nicklas Backstrom during their 2-on-1 with an empty net: “I thought he would pass it back.”
If Oveckin finishes his career with 999 goals, remember this night and that play.
*Bryan Helmer picked up his first NHL points since March 5, 2004 when Viktor Kozlov redirected his point shot for the Caps’ second goal of the night.
*Brent Johnson had a solid night, stopping 27 shots and earning his first victory against the Islanders in seven career tries. The first goal was through a crowd on the power play and you can’t fault him on the second one.
Speaking of that goal, it was a weird sequence. Just as a Caps power play came to an end, Viktor Kozlov’s pass from the left corner missed Sami Lepisto and ended up in the right corner of the Caps zone. New York’s Andy Sutton came out of the penalty box and was the first to the puck.
After Johnson stopped Sutton’s shot, the puck went airborne and Lepisto – trying to swat at the puck his glove – fell to the ice. Sutton collected it behind the net and he had two teammates cutting to the net to choose from in what was essentially a 3-on-0. Sutton hit Trent Hunter, who one-timed the pass past Johnson. Kozlov went to the bench for a change, but Brooks Laich and Kozlov’s replacement (Eric Fehr) weren’t able to get back in time. Ovechkin was originally the nearest guy to Lepisto and Sutton, but he peeled back toward the neutral zone after the original shot and also wasn’t able to recover in time.
Boudreau’s take on the situation included the phrase, “Andy Sutton is 6-foot-6 and weighs 103,000 pounds.” Just thought tht was pretty funny — and he didn’t fault anyone when asked about the play.
*Finally, take a peak at the NHL scoring leaders (click here for the link) after tonight’s early games. I have to think Gary Bettman and the boys at the NHL offices are quite happy to see those three players 1-2-3 in points. It should make for an entertaining scoring race.