- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 25, 2009

It took four games plus nearly two periods to witness the first “Alex moment” of the Washington Capitals’ Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers.

And with all due respect to Matt Bradley’s two-goal outburst, it was the moment of the Capitals’ 4-0 win Friday in Game 5 at Verizon Center, and it set the tone for Sunday’s Game 6.

The Caps aren’t done yet.

After the Caps played their second dominant game of the series, there’s one reason they can rally: Alex Ovechkin has taken his game to another level.

Sure, he was playing hard and well in the first four-plus games, but starting with the third period of Game 4, the Moscow Dynamo has been another kind of dynamite.

Ovechkin’s goals through the first 11 periods of the series: zero. Ovechkin’s goals in periods 12-14: two.

“He’s been playing great the whole series,” defenseman Brian Pothier said. “If he wasn’t scoring, he was diving to save a breakaway and pitching in defensively. [Scoring] was inevitable.”

Just when it appeared the stage would belong to Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Ovechkin has scored twice and hit the post once in the last 80 minutes of game action.

On a truly bizarre night in Chinatown - Bradley’s goals, Lundqvist looking mortal and Rangers coach John Tortorella propelling a water bottle into the stands after being doused - Ovechkin’s goal with 29 seconds left in the second period was the highlight. The play took seven seconds. To Chris Drury and Derek Morris, it probably seemed to last seven minutes.

36.9 seconds: Ovechkin gets possession a few strides outside the Caps’ zone.

34.5 seconds: He enters the Rangers’ zone one-on-two and makes a sharp turn toward the middle.

33.3 seconds: Drury whiffs on a check.

32.0 seconds: Ovechkin puts the puck between Morris’ skates to deke him out of the play.

“The moves he makes, they’re so quick,” said Caps blueliner John Erskine, who was on the ice. “There’s not a lot you can do [as a defenseman]. He’s so quick and so strong, you have to put the stick on the puck and take the body, but he weighs about 230 [pounds] out there so that’s pretty tough to do.”

31.6 seconds: Ovechkin regains control of the puck by kicking it with left skate to his stick.

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