WASHINGTON – Bruce Boudreau was amazed when he watched Alex Ovechkin score the deciding goal in a shootout. The Washington Capitals coach admired Ovechkin’s wizardry, and then a moment later, was taken aback when he saw the home crowd litter the ice with hats.
Ovechkin had already scored twice in regulation time, and when he beat Nashville goalie Dan Ellis, the hats began to pour out of the stands.
“I don’t think it’s ever been done in the history of hockey,” Boudreau said with a wry smile. “It’s a Washington original.”
Ovechkin’s goal gave the Capitals a 3-2 win over the Predators on Saturday night.
Ovechkin, the second Washington shooter, beat Ellis. He was the lone Capitals’ shooter to score in the shootout. None of the three Nashville shooters scored off Washington goalie Semyon Varlamov.
Ovechkin had the Capitals’ two goals in regulation, and when he scored, the fans littered the ice with hats, mistakenly thinking it was a hat trick. Play was halted for about two minutes while the hats were collected from the ice.
“Find out if anyone has ever thrown hats for a goal that doesn’t count as a hat trick,” Boudreau said.
As Ovechkin’s coach, he’s continually asked to explain his goals – and he has given up trying.
“I have no idea what he does,” Boudreau said. “Sometimes when you score two goals and your name is Alex Ovechkin, the goalie is thinking too much.”
The shootout began after an overtime which featured just one shot on goal – by Ovechkin with 22.5 seconds to play.
The loss was Nashville’s fifth straight after it opened the season with two wins.
“What a move in the shootout,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “That’s pretty tough to take if you’re a goaltender with all those things coming at you.”
Ovechkin gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead when he scored on a 25-foot slap shot just 15 seconds into a power play at 5:27 of the first period. It was his eighth goal of the season. With 1:45 left in the period, Ovechkin scored again when he retrieved Brendan Morrison’s long pass banked off the boards and weaved in front of Ellis and fired it past him for his second straight two-goal game.
“We controlled the game in the first period and a half,” Ovechkin said.
Ovechkin has nine goals, and the Predators entered the game with just eight.
“He gets his goals whether you got three guys on him – or five guys on him – it doesn’t matter,” Ellis said.
The Capitals failed to take advantage of their second-period scoring opportunities, and they were stunned when the Predators, who had been outscored 15-2 in their three previous games, scored twice in 95 seconds.
Shea Weber scored Nashville’s first goal on a 45-footer that beat Varlamov at 14:29 of the second period. J.P. Dumont, who missed four games with a concussion, tied the game at 2-all. He shot from the right corner, and his shot tucked just inside the left corner of the net. It was the first goals of the season for both Weber and Dumont.
“That was a shot from a really bad angle that he’ll stop 100 out of 100 times,” Boudreau said.
Varlamov was playing in place of Jose Theodore, who suffered back spasms in the Capitals’ win over San Jose on Thursday.
Notes: Nashville failed to convert on four power plays. They’ve scored on just one of 24 opportunities this season. … Washington RW Matt Bradley played in his 500th NHL game. … Nashville D Cody Franson, who was recalled from AHL Milwaukee, made his NHL debut. He replaced D Dan Hamhuis, who is out with an upper-body injury. … The Capitals’ backup goalie was Braden Holtby, who was recalled from Washington’s ECHL South Carolina affiliate. … Capitals’ D Shaone Morrisonn was scratched with a lower-body injury.