Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin Carries Team Closer to 8th Spot

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James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the claim of every amateur and professional coach ever, sometimes one person can win a game.

Tuesday night, Alex Ovechkin had two goals and an assists to carry the Washington Capitals past the Carolina Hurricanes (5-3) even though Jiri Tlusty finished with a hat trick for the Canes.

Washington has now overtaken Carolina for second place in the Southeast Division, while the Hurricanes have lost two straight.

More importantly, Washington showed something they have seemed to lack all season while chasing a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference: resiliency. The Capitals trailed 2-0 before scoring five goals on 11 shots. If Washington wants to be relevant late this season, it’ll be wins like tonights that they look back on for guidance.

Meanwhile, the Canes have lost two straight and dropped to a divisional opponent was less than ideal. Carolina also lost defenseman Joni Pitkanen to a leg injury during the second period. Pitkanen’s injury would be a seismic loss to the blue line if he is forced to miss multiple games.

Ovechkin extended his points streak to nine games and Washington is building momentum in order to avoid a midseason lull. The Capitals are still three points off of the eighth place New York Islanders.

Both the Islanders and seventh place New Jersey are certainly catchable for the Capitals, which would prevent them from having to face first-place Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs.

For the Washington Capitals, it doesn’t always have to be a team effort. If Ovechkin can continue to carry the Caps, who cares so long as they win?

John Engel is a college basketball Pac-12 Conference writer for Rant Sports and also works for ESPNLA 710 AM in Los Angeles. Follow John on Twitter: @engelsportsguy