- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Alex Ovechkin leads way as Caps win fourth straight
Captain ties for for first in NHL in goals as Washington builds Southeast lead
Sometimes it’s very easy.
“Obviously we win more,” center Nicklas Backstrom said.
Four in a row, eight of the past 10 and nine of the past 12, most recently Sunday night’s 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, as Ovechkin has been nothing short of spectacular. The captain scored twice and tied for the NHL lead in goals as the Caps built a two-point lead in the Southeast Division with nine games to play.
“Right now I feel pretty good, and again we win the games it’s most important thing,” Ovechkin said. “Of course I’m happy I score the goals, the beginning of the year was pretty hard time for all organization. Now we’re back on track and it’s good.”
Ovechkin has 15 goals and six assists in the past 12 games. His 25th of the season came on an empty-netter Sunday that ensured the Caps were the hottest team in the league.
It’s far from a coincidence that the star winger’s production coincided with his team’s movement from bottom of the Eastern Conference to division leader.
“He’s a leader and I think that’s why we’ve been so successful,” defenseman Steve Oleksy said. “I think everybody feeds off that, and when we see him finding that next level I think everybody in the room finds that next level.”
Defenseman John Carlson and right wing Joel Ward found another level by beating Ben Bishop to turn a deficit into a lead, and Ovechkin finished things off with his and the team’s first empty-net goal of the season.
“Too many wasted opportunities from our team,” Ovechkin said. “I think this is our first goal in empty net. Don’t want to risk it.”
Playing the second half of a Southeast Division back-to-back, the Caps didn’t risk giving up crucial points in one of their games in hand on the second-place Winnipeg Jets. Up two points on Winnipeg and eight on the Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes, it’s starting to feel like the division and corresponding No. 3 seed in the East is there for the Caps.
“It’s too early to say,” Ovechkin said. “We still have big games coming up. We have to try to win as many as we can.”
Now 12-3 against division opponents, the Caps understand the importance of taking care of business in the Southeast.
“It’s real important. We’re going to be in the first spot there in our division,” Backstrom said. “You’ve just got to keep working. It’s a lot of games left, and you’ve got to make sure you’re focused every game.”
Maintaining focus amid a sprint to the finish is one thing the Caps have gotten very good at this season. Part of that is coach Adam Oates not addressing the division race with his players.
“I haven’t really thought about it,” Oates said. “The schedule’s been just crazy. Right now I think the staff and the players, we’re just treating it a game at a time, and it’s been working for us and we’re not talking about anything else, just focusing on tonight.”
Sunday night, like so many before, Ovechkin was locked in. Not surprisingly, the Caps followed.
“He’s scoring on his chances; obviously he’s got a lot of shots during the game,” Backstrom said. “It makes it easier. And when he has confidence, it’s fun to see and helps the team a lot.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- WHYNO: Tomas Vokoun gets unexpected Stanley Cup shot with Penguins
- Brandon Meriweather, Redskins' secondary ready for bounceback year
- Kirk Cousins embraces role as Redskins' offseason starter as RG3 rehabs from injury
- Capitals notes: Realignment won't prompt roster remake
- Despite Caps' first-round playoff exit, Adam Oates' first season as coach left a positive taste
Latest Blog Entries
- Redskins injury updates (5/23): WR Pierre Garcon, CB Josh Wilson each had labrum surgery
- Capitals 'love' Matt Hendricks, but how much?
- Wojtek Wolski signs in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League
- Tom Poti won't return to Capitals, plans to continue his NHL career
- Is Tom Wilson ready to be a regular for Capitals?
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Tech companies call for an end to NSA online snooping
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- Mike Shanahan says he'd like to return; RG3 might be benched
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow