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Ovechkin's resurgence after a slow start came in the form of 23 goals and 13 assists in the Caps' final 23 games, and they went 17-4-2.
Offensive catalyst Ilya Kovalchuk is returning to the New Jersey Devils' lineup for Saturday's game against the Florida Panthers.
EDITOR'S NOTE _ Phoenix Coyotes enforcer Paul Bissonnette adopted Twitter reluctantly but has now become an unlikely star on the social media network. In keeping with Twitter style, this story about Bissonnette's online personality is broken up into lines of 140 characters or less. Sections written by sports writer John Marshall are preceded by his Twitter handle (jmarshallap). Quotes from other sources are preceded by the handle or name of the person being quoted and set off by quotation marks. Actual tweets are clearly noted when they appear in the story.
Alex Ovechkin hadn't scored a hat trick in more than two years. Even as Washington Capitals teammate Joel Ward asked, "How often you expect him to score hat tricks?" it was hard to believe that the most recent one before Saturday came Jan. 22, 2011.
Mike Ribeiro knew the situation. So when he had time, space and saw Alex Ovechkin with an open look at the net, he knew exactly where the pass was going.
After a brief switch back to the left side where he's more comfortable, Ovechkin has played the past five games where Adam Oates knows he belongs, on right wing, and the fruits of that experiment are starting to show.
Sometimes it's hard to forget about a goaltender's night. A few big saves but a couple of goals, and there are bigger problems to worry about.
The superstar isn't known for his defensive prowess, but coach Adam Oates said he discussed a penalty-killing role with Ovechkin and wouldn't hesitate to put him out there in those situations.
Alex Ovechkin could start the season at right wing, an adjustment Adam Oates and the Washington Capitals hope pays dividends with new looks and production.
Alex Ovechkin knew right away how badly he was missed. When he landed at Dulles International Airport on Monday afternoon, the Washington Capitals captain heard firsthand the sound of the end of the NHL lockout.
Alex Ovechkin left the United States on a jet plane bound for Russia, saying earlier this month he wasn't sure when and if he would be back.
Goal-scoring isn't Ilya Kovalchuk's problem. Count 'em: 406 goals in 779 NHL regular-season games. That's what earned him a 15-year, $100 million contract with the New Jersey Devils.
Roughly two years ago, the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils were the finalists in the free-agent market battle for Ilya Kovalchuk.
The three keys to the Stanley Cup Final between the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings and the matchup to watch
A year after missing the playoffs for the first time since 1996, the New Jersey Devils are going back to the Stanley Cup finals, thanks to a rookie, a 40-year-old goaltender and a coach who'd never been to the postseason in the NHL.
"He's never going to give up," Kovalchuk said. "He's just going to go and try even harder, practice harder and work on his [game], like what he can do best he will be even better. I don't think in my mind that he's not going to turn it around."
"We always believe. That's why we're here. We don't have anybody who quit or said we can't do it," Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk said. "We just take one game, one shift at a time and we got out there and try to play our best game."