We should have known when Alex Ovechkin injured Capitals’ star rookie goaltender Ilya Samsonov during the morning skate. The Great 8’s shot was heavy and hard on this day and it translated into the game.
In the latter minutes of the third period with the Capitals down 2-1, Ovechkin took over. He scored goals on consecutive shifts to first tie and then give the Caps the lead. Three minutes and 14 seconds later, he added an empty-net goal from way downtown for his 27th career hat trick and his third in six games.
Ovechkin’s first goal came on his first shot on the night. After single-handedly winning a battle below the goal line, the Capitals captain sent a pass to TJ Oshie. After a beautiful spin move along the boards, the Osh Babe found Ovi wide open with a cross-crease pass for the one-timer.
“Obviously it was tough couple periods for our line,” Ovechkin said. “When Osh jump in, we started creating moments out there. The first one was a pretty pass and I got lucky with it bouncing on my stick and it went in.”
Seventy seconds later, Ovechkin struck again. After getting a long stretch pass from John Carlson, Ovechkin lumbering down the left wing, Ovechkin threw howitzer of a shot on Quick. The Kings goaltender stopped the puck with his pad but couldn’t locate the rebound.
“He didn’t see the puck and I kind of tried to continue skating and I see the puck out there and get another one,” Ovechkin said.
Finally, Ovechkin completed the hat trick by picking off a pass from Dustin Brown and firing a shot from the Capitals defensive zone into the Kings’ empty-net.
Hats rained down onto the ice.
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) February 5, 2020
Ovechkin completed the natural hat trick in four minutes and 24 seconds.
Alex Ovechkin's natural hat trick came in a span of 4:24 minutes. The franchise record for the quickest three goals by one player is 3:26 minutes, accomplished by Stan Gilbertson on April 6, 1975 versus the Pittsburgh Penguins.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) February 5, 2020
After the game, Ovechkin posed with the goal pucks.
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) February 5, 2020
A reporter asked Ovechkin if he ever amazes himself.
“Not yet! I’m still playing,” Ovechkin said laughing. “I’m pretty sure me and my family and my friends will talk about it. But now, I don’t try to concentrate on it and just go out there and do my job.”
The goals were Ovechkin’s 696th, 697th, and 698th goals of his career putting him two goals away from becoming the eighth player ever to score 700 goals. He wants to hit the milestone as quickly as possible.
“[I]f you’re going to think about it too much, you’re never going to get it. So, I just have to go out there and play,” he said.
The three goals also gave Ovechkin 40 on the season, giving him the league lead in goals.
Ovechkin now has four hat tricks this season and has multi-goal games in five of his last seven. He’s currently on pace for 61 goals in 81 games.
“He is freaky,” Craig Laughlin said.
“He is a freak of nature,” added Joe Beninati.
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