“We were just unsuccessful,” Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter said to 1500 ESPN’s Judd Zulgad after their team’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Capitals. “We designed our PK to defend that.”
The that Suter is referring to is Caps superstar Alex Ovechkin who dogged the Wild for three power-play goals. Former Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau specifically tailored the team’s penalty kill to take away Ovechkin. Instead, the team left Ovechkin alone on Ovechkin Island, sipping on piña coladas.
The Russian tallied his 17th career hat trick, but it was Ovechkin’s first ever all-power-play goal hatty. But what went so wrong?
“The first one was off the rush,” Suter explained. “Second one was in his spot. Third one, one-timer there. That’s his spot. We have to know that. We knew that. We were prepared, but we just didn’t execute.”
Despite giving up 5 goals to Washington, Boudreau was pleased with his team’s play, noting that the Wild gave up 20 or less shots for the second consecutive game.
“I bet you five-on-five they didn’t have 14 shots,” Boudreau said. “It’s pretty encouraging.”
But what about the team’s power play woes?
“Every team has designed things to do, but if he gets the shot away, if it doesn’t hit you, it’s in the net,” Boudreau said. “I’ve seen him for five years do that to everybody. We can design all we want. The idea I guess is to prevent them from making that play over to him. And we weren’t able to do that.”
Three different Capitals players tallied the primary assist on each goal. Marcus Johansson, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Nicklas Backstrom all found Ovechkin wide open in the left circle. Johansson assisted on every Ovi goal.
“It’s going to happen if he gets the time and space,” Devan Dubnyk said. “If you watch him, he does that every night when he gets opportunities. We did a pretty good job in Washington with our game plan as far as eliminating his time and space, and unfortunately he got some time and space tonight, and it was in the net.”
Ovechkin has now scored hat tricks in consecutive games in Minnesota.
Staal on Ovechkin: "We were prepared for what we wanted to do, we just didn't execute. He's elite." #mnwild
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) March 29, 2017
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