- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 11, 2006

BOSTON — It wasn’t even an average night for Alex Ovechkin. He had only four shots on goal, nine less than his season high and two less than he normally takes. But one of them was special, truly special.

Ovechkin, the 20-year-old Washington Capitals rookie, scored his 49th goal, resulting in his 100th NHL point and boosting the team to a 2-1 overtime victory against the Boston Bruins.

The winning goal, 3:30 into the extra period, came off a broken play. He zipped through the neutral zone, came down through the right circle and fired at Tim Thomas. The goalie got a piece of it but not nearly enough.

The score touched off an immediate celebration by the emotional left wing and his teammates, who alternated congratulating the budding superstar and the man who held the team in the game long enough for it to win, goalie Olie Kolzig.

Ovechkin inched closer to Joe Nieuwendyk (51, 1987-88) for third place in goals by a rookie and moved into a fifth-place tie with Mario Lemieux (100, 1984-85) for most points by a rookie.

As far as team single-season records go, Ovechkin’s 49 goals moved him into seventh place and his 100 points put him within two of Mike Gartner, who had 102 in 1984-85, the second-best Caps season ever.

Ovechkin snapped a six-game goal-less streak that extended from March 30 through Saturday night. It was the second six-game drought of his short career.

“We try [everything]. We score goal, and we win game — finally,” said the exuberant Ovechkin, sitting in his stall in the visiting dressing room, the remains of a shaving cream pie that had been slapped in his face by center Jeff Halpern still evident.

“Everybody told me not to think about [50] goals,” Ovechkin said. “After second period … everybody — my agent, my family, my brother — tell me don’t think about it, just go to ice and enjoy it. But the press, they’re always talking about it. Me and [Sidney] Crosby, the same thing [pressure]. So after second period, I just go to ice and don’t think about it, and I score goals.”

Ovechkin, who was supposed to leave a drop pass for Dainius Zubrus but didn’t, went from near his own blue line to the center of the right circle in the offensive zone. He took a pass from Zubrus with 1:34 left in the period and ended the game four seconds later.

“It’s a great play, a great goal by a great player,” said coach Glen Hanlon, who made sure Kolzig did not go without credit for the job he did holding the Caps in the game while his teammates struggled to come to life. Kolzig stopped 37 of the 38 shots he faced and was sharp.

Zubrus had given the Caps the lead with his 22nd goal of the season 15:46 into the second period after a Bruins turnover in the neutral zone. Rookie Mark Stuart tied it for Boston with his first NHL goal halfway through the third that slipped in off the right post.

Notes — Left wing Ben Clymer returned from his lower body injury, meaning the emergency recall allowance that permitted center Kris Beech to be with the Caps has expired. Beech will go back to Hershey today. … Brian Sutherby continues to be out with an upper body injury; the Caps have lost 162 man-games to injury or illness. Right wing Matt Bradley may add to that total. He left the game early in the second period after blocking a shot with a foot and did not return. … The Caps canceled today’s practice.

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