If the Washington Capitals somehow make the playoffs in two weeks, they will look back and credit Alex Ovechkin‘s play in tonight’s 3-0 win over the Minnesota Wild. And no, said play didn’t exactly lead to an Ovechkin goal.
Jason Chimera and Mathieu Perrault scored goals about five minutes apart in the second period, and Ovechkin would go on to add his 36th goal of the season midway through the third. While those goals sent the sellout crowd at the Verizon Center home happy, it was Ovechkin’s defensive play in the second period that will be remembered from this game.
With the Capitals leading 1-0, and on the power(less) play, Mikko Koivu came streaking down the left side of the ice on a 2-on-1. He made for goalie Braden Holtby, but with a strong backcheck, Ovechkin caught Koivu, and removed the puck from his stick. And with a long breakout pass, Ovechkin caught Troy Brouwer along the right wing, who took the puck in on a 2-on-1 and fed a beautiful pass to Perrault,who put the Capitals up 2-0.
Braden Holtby took care of the rest, stopping all 28 shots he faced, for his first shutout of the season. Holtby is now 2-1-1 on the season, and seems to be the strongest goalie in the Capitals organization as of late.
Ovechkin logged over 26 minutes in the game, and blasted a bullet through Matt Hackett‘s legs to put him in a tie for fourth in the league with goals. He scored a goal, blocked numerous shots, and quite possibly saved the Capitals’ season with his amazing backcheck on Koivu.
The stage is now set for Tuesday night’s showdown with the Buffalo Sabres. Both teams have 84 points, with six games to play. They are also both only two points behind the seventh place Ottawa Senators, who have lost six of their last ten games. As of now, the Capitals are sitting in eighth place due to their 36 regulation and overtime wins.
The time is now for the Capitals, they must continue to win in the last two weeks of the season. If not, they will have to dust off the golf clubs and brush up on their golf game.