Alex Ovechkin has five goals in his first 11 games. It’s another good start personally, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Some Ovi shots have hit posts and crossbars in games. He’s been inches away from several other goals. The Capitals captain looks just as good as he ever did before, but this year’s Caps team has scuffled a bit out of the gate.
The Capitals are in shambles with injuries. They’re without three star players in the top six, Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson, and TJ Oshie, and top defenseman John Carlson. This has caused inconsistency with the lines and the team’s play at 5v5. Despite having better goaltending than last year, the Caps are off to their worst start since 2013.
This season has had its frustrating moments and Ovi let his own frustration show after the Capitals’ 3-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday. The Caps, playing in the back end of back-to-back games, got a point against one of the best teams in the league. But for Ovi, who is a champion, that was not good enough.
Ovechkin made a rare mistake in overtime, getting beat to the net by defenseman Shea Theodore. Theodore ended up scoring the game-winner.
Shea Theo-vertime Winner 🚨 pic.twitter.com/ESLjcfUrdi
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) November 2, 2022
The Theodore tally was made possible by a stunning in-stride pass by Jack Eichel. Theodore ended up with a semi-breakaway and beat Charlie Lindgren short side. The Capitals, who entered the third period with a 2-1 lead, collapsed and lost 3-2.
Ovechkin was not pleased. Ovi skated off the ice, slammed his stick near the bench, and chucked his lumber down the tunnel.
mood after two straight losses in bonus hockey pic.twitter.com/Q8VAcF50C8
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) November 2, 2022
This is behavior from a fiery competitor, one who expects more of himself as a leader. But it’s also a perfect encapsulation of the frustration that players and fans likely feel together as one. Despite all the signings and roster moves over the offseason, injury and durability issues have negated any possible roster improvement that the Capitals made over last season.
That magnifies tiny mistakes like these and adds more pressure to the team’s already top-heavy core.
We can make excuses. But that ending was deflating. And I would have thrown my stick too.
Here are the rest of the game highlights.
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