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Ovechkin dazzles in Caps’ victory
Question of the Day
Ovechkin had another highlight-reel goal, while both Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom scored in the shootout to propel the Caps to a 4-3 victory Wednesday night against the Montreal Canadiens at sold-out Verizon Center.
“I’ve seen [Ovechkin’s famous 2006 goal against Phoenix] about 1,000 times on TV, but I thought that goal [tonight] was as amazing a goal as I have ever seen,” Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Washington has now won three games in a row and moved into sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of idle New Jersey.
Ovechkin’s goal, one of the most impressive of his distinguished four-year career, came midway through the opening period. Roman Hamrlik’s defense partner, Mike Komisarek, missed him with a rinkwide pass, and then Ovechkin beat him to it as it caromed off the boards.
Last year’s MVP backhanded the puck to himself off the left boards - throwing in a flashy spin move to maneuver around Hamrlik - and then broke for the net. Montreal’s Kyle Chipchura hauled Ovechkin down as he tried to go around him with one hand on his stick, but the Russian superstar had enough body control to keep possession of the puck and then slip it inside the near post as he slid between the hash marks on his backside.
“You have to try something new,” Ovechkin said of the spin-o-rama in the neutral zone. “Sometimes I try in practice, and [teammates] say, ‘What are you doing?’ Sometimes I just need to change my game, and it is working.”
David Steckel also said the goal ranked up there with the January 2006 effort against Phoenix, known as “The Goal.”
“I’d probably rank that one No. 2 [behind ‘The Goal’],” Steckel said. “He was on his back again, and he still has the hockey sense to stay with it and keep his head down on it. I thought it was pretty amazing.”
The goal was Ovechkin’s 43rd of the season and fifth in the past three games. When he was shown sitting on the bench during the next media timeout after another replay of the goal, he cupped his glove to his ear, and the crowd gave him a thunderous roar.
“I don’t understand fans - they are screaming, and then after [a few minutes] they are just like, ‘OK, here we go again, game,’ ” Ovechkin said. “I was like, ‘C’mon, guys.’ ”
Hamrlik received another dose of humility less than three minutes later. Backstrom and Sergei Fedorov worked a perfect give-and-go with the Caps on the power play, spinning Hamrlik around and opening a lane for Backstrom to deposit his 14th goal of the season.
Washington outplayed Montreal in the opening 20 minutes with a decisive advantage in five-on-five play and the two highlight-reel goals but went to the intermission locked in a 2-2 tie.
The Canadiens capitalized on a pair of power-play opportunities to keep pace. Christopher Higgins gave Montreal a 1-0 lead 2:33 into the game - and five seconds after defenseman Mike Green went to the box for putting the puck over the glass in his own end.
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