Alex Ovechkin said after his team’s 4-2 victory against Detroit he was “sleepy” during the first two periods, but he certainly woke up in the final 20 minutes. He and Nicklas Backstrom were broken up for the first time in a long time, but both produced this afternoon.
* Ovechkin had two more third-period goals, which gives him a league-leading 17. His 33 total markers also leads the NHL, as he took the lead back from Philadelphia’s Jeff Carter. Bruce Boudreau said Ovechkin and Alexander Semin weren’t playing very well the first two periods, and that was why he dropped Semin to the third line.
* Backstrom was on the second line with Tomas Fleischmann and Eric Fehr — and that trio was great together. The sophomore center had a pair of incredible assists on Mike Green’s goal and Ovechkin’s second score. Playing with Backstrom helped Eric Fehr register five shots and he played like a guy who didn’t like being scratched the past three games.
* The Caps faced a rare 3-on-6 in the final minute when they were down two men and Detroit pulled goalie Ty Conklin. One shot hit the post, but otherwise the Caps were able to escape. Washington blocked 25 shots in the game — FIVE of them after Viktor Kozlov went to the penalty box to start the crazy ending sequence.
“Our PK might not be that good, but we’re real good on 6-on-3,” Boudreau said. “That doesn’t happen very often.”
Tom Poti was not happy with the call leveled against him — he said his clearing attempt clearly hit a Detroit player’s stick.
* Jose Theodore is now 9-4-1 with a .924 save percentage since that game at Madison Square Garden.
* Theodore also won for only the second time in his career against Detroit. His GAA and SV PCT have been good against the Red Wings, but he was 1-9 (including playoffs) against Detroit in his career.
* Detroit’s Ville Leino scored a goal on his first NHL shot. Leino had 28 goals and 77 points in the Finnish Elite League last season and earned MVP honors. While the pursuit of free agent Fabian Brunnstrom was much publicized, Detroit signed Leino this offseason without much fanfare.
* The Caps PK stats won’t improve much from a 5-for-6 night and it was the 10th straight game with a PP goal allowed, but it was still a big improvement for the Caps. Johan Franzen’s goal was an unlucky break, but otherwise the Caps did a pretty nice job of limiting opportunities for the best power-play unit in the league. Detroit not having Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom might have helped a bit too.
One big personnel change on the PK units? No Alexander Semin and very little Alex Ovechkin. Semin registered a 0:00 in the shorthanded ice time column (the play Patrice Bergeron made against him for Marc Savard’s goal in Boston might have something to do with that) and Ovechkin was only on for the last few seconds twice.
The top two PK pairings were Steckel with Laich and Fleischamann with Backstrom, while Matt Bradley was the No. 5 guy when needed.
* The Red Wings have now lost five games in a row (0-4-1). That doesn’t happen very often.
* Finally, here is Bruce Boudreau’s take on playing back-to-back afternoon games.
“They’re men,” he said. “I’m not sitting in there telling them, ‘Hey, it is a 9:00 curfew — be in and watch the Brady Bunch tonight.”