Photo: Alex Brandon
While Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is one of the greatest natural goal scorers of all-time, he’s never been lights out in the shootout. In his career, Ovechkin has connected on 30.2% of his shots, which is less effective than Nicklas Backstrom, Eric Fehr, Brooks Laich, and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
This season, new bench boss Barry Trotz has utilized Ovechkin in the clean-up spot, having him shoot only if a shootout is tied after three rounds. On Saturday, to change the bad juju after two straight shootout losses, Trotz let assistant coach and always-dour-human-being Blaine Forsythe pick the third shooter.
He went with the Russian machine. It paid off.
Ovechkin uses the same move he always does, slowly skating the puck in from the right side and then curling to the left in the slot. Panthers goalie Al Montoya overcommits and tries to double stack his pads to take away the low part of the net. Ovi lifts the puck over his outstretched hand, off the yawing of the net, and in. Game over.
The Great Eight now has eight career game-deciding goals, which of course he does. Don’t look now, but through five games the Caps have not been defeated in regulation.
That’s both weird and nice. Let’s party.
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