By Ian Oland
After the Capitals fell behind 1-0 in the first period, Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren tried send a message early in the second, trying to level Alex Ovechkin in the Rangers’ defensive zone with a big open-ice hit. Ovi, who was attempting to create on a one-on-two, saw Lindgren coming and delivered a counter hit to Lindgren which broke the gr8’s stick in half. Both Lindgren and Ovechkin crumped to the ice after their bodies violently collided.
“It was a big battle,” Ovechkin said after the game to NBC Sports Washington. “It was the style of hockey I like.”
The Rangers, like so many teams before them, learned that taking the body to Ovi just makes him angry and more determined.
“When I was coaching other teams against him, I said don’t him,” former Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau remarked during NBC Sports Washington’s postgame show. “Let him sleep! Let him sleep!”
In the third period, with the Capitals’ winning streak on the line, Ovechkin took over, scoring twice on identical plays and giving the Capitals an improbable 2-1 comeback win.
Ovi’s first goal came with 6:42 remaining in the third period. After Justin Schultz put a one-timer on net, Ovi won his battle in front of the net and found Alexandar Georgiev’s rebound sitting in the paint. He shoveled the puck home to tie it up 1-1.
Ovechkin scored again three minutes and nine seconds later after a great carry-in by Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuzy found John Carlson for a one-timer. Ovi, who had driven hard to the net, hipped teammate Garnet Hathaway out of the way and backhanded the rebound into the yawning net.
Scream. Celebrate. Win.
The goals were Ovechkin’s 13th and 14th of the season and the 719th and 720th tallies of his career. It marked the 147th multi-goal game of his career, tying Ovi with Gordie Howe for fourth all-time. Ovechkin also tied Mark Messier for the seventh most even-strength goals in NHL history (452).
With that 2nd tally (one that turns out to be the winner in a 2-1 @Capitals defeat of the Rangers tonight), Ovechkin also has tied Mark Messier's 452 for the 7th most career even strength goals by a player in NHL history https://t.co/wk9wPlShDT
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) March 20, 2021
The goal marked Ovechkin’s 115th game-winning goal, fourth-most all-time.
Alex Ovechkin recorded the 115th game-winning goal of his career against the Rangers, three shy of tying Phil Esposito for third place in NHL history.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) March 20, 2021
Ovechkin has scored in five-straight games and has eight goals in his last 10 games.
I'm happy to report that Alex Ovechkin is back doing Alex Ovechkin things again. Last 10 games:
•47 shots on goal
•94 shot attempts
•Goals in 5 straight games
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) March 20, 2021
“Sometimes you have to get those gritty, dirty ones,” Ovechkin said. “It’s still the same whether it’s a goal from my spot or whatever. It was important goals and I’ll take it.”
is this, ovi's new office? 😏 pic.twitter.com/ZQbienQ5Cm
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 20, 2021
Very rarely can a hockey player put a team on its back and carry them over the finish line like in basketball. A star skater in hockey will play only as much as a third of a game (20 minutes). But in the third period, Ovi did his best Michael Jordan impression against a team they struggle against.
Ovechkin leads the Capitals in points (7) scored in the final 10 minutes of regulation and in overtime this season.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) March 20, 2021
With the victory, the Capitals won all seven games Tom Wilson was out due to suspension.
RMNB Coverage of Caps vs Rangers
Screenshot courtesy of NBC Sports Washington
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