Friday night, the Washington Capitals lost to the league’s worst team, the Arizona Coyotes, in overtime after an amazing passing play between Max Domi and Clayton Keller. Keller, a 19-year-old rookie, slid the puck past Philipp Grubauer’s outstretched pad for the team’s eighth win in 37 games this season.
The goal was Keller’s 13th of the 2017-18 campaign, placing him second among all rookies. For Keller, the goal was also personally significant for another reason.
Triple threat of @ClaytonKeller37, @max_domi and @gollygoose33:
DYNAMITE in @EASPORTSNHL OT. pic.twitter.com/gCfvFfkmNX
— NHL (@NHL) December 23, 2017
Seven years prior as a 12-year-old, Keller met his “idol” Alex Ovechkin, according to the Arizona Coyotes. During a trip to Moscow, Russia, Keller, while representing the United States, ran into Ovechkin and took a photo with the Hall of Famer. Ovechkin was 26-years-old at the time.
When you beat your 12-year-old idol.
🙌 #WSHvsARI pic.twitter.com/0rHX9LAgA2
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 23, 2017
Fast forward to 2017, Ovechkin remains a league leader in goals, but during the Capitals two games against the Coyotes this season, it’s been Keller who has scored more goals.
On November 6, Keller also scored a beautiful goal against Washington at Capital One Arena.
The two snipers had similar stats going into that night’s game.
Ovechkin vs. Keller. Legend vs. Kid. This should be fun. https://t.co/yEb5clK2lS pic.twitter.com/Ei2v1rdHz2
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) November 6, 2017
The Coyotes have accumulated three of four possible standings points against the Capitals this season.
Now that Ovechkin is in the latter half of his NHL career, he’s begun to play against players who idolized or admired him as children. Last season, for instance, the Russian machine played against Devils forward Miles Wood for the first time. Ovechkin was Wood’s childhood hero.
“When Miles was about eight or nine-years-old, he sent a hockey card to Alex Ovechkin,” Papa Wood said. “He said if you don’t sign this and send it back to me when I make it to the NHL I’m going to give you a big bodycheck. Miles never got the signed card back so I’m waiting for that big check on Alex.”
Instead, Ovechkin gave Woods a signed photo before the game, which read “Take it easy tonight.” The two would meet each other and take a photo together afterwards.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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