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Ovechkin’s 36th goal earned more “Ovi” chants. A sixth 40-goal season is within reach.

But even without a goal, this was one of Ovechkin’s best performances of the season because of his backchecking play on Koivu. It was the kind of hustle and stick work at that end you might expect from forwards Brooks Laich and Jay Beagle, but Ovechkin pulling it off made it that much more impressive.

Even if it wasn’t pretty.

“The style in which he did it? It’s great, man,” Knuble said. “We don’t really care as long as the job gets done.”

Of course, Ovechkin didn’t do it alone. Holtby made a handful of saves on the doorstep to keep the game scoreless early, and he held on for his first NHL shutout in almost a year.

But this crucial victory was brought to you by No. 8, who drew intentionally understated praise from Wild coach Mike Yeo before the game, noting, “He’s a good player.”

Good at both ends of the ice when the Caps needed it most.