WASHINGTON (Ticker) — Missing practice for a day did little to
slow down Alex Ovechkin.
The reigning Hart Trophy winner scored twice within a 76-second
span late in the third period Saturday, lifting the Washington
Capitals to a 4-2 victory over the slumping Detroit Red Wings.
Ovechkin gave the Capitals a scare when he crashed into the
boards in the second period of Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss to
the Boston Bruins. He suffered a stinger that caused him to
miss practice the following day.
Saturday’s contest started at 12:30 p.m. local time, and
Ovechkin said he never remembered playing a game that early.
Washington has another 12:30 start Sunday.
“In the first two periods, I did not have a lot of chances, and
I was still kind of sleepy,” he said. “I skated around and
missed the puck and felt kind of frustrated.”
The All-Star left wing showed that he is none the worse for
wear, scoring his 32nd and 33rd goals of the season to take over
the NHL’s goal-scoring lead from Philadelphia’s Jeff Carter.
“I had a lot more chances in the third period, and scored a
goal, and it helped me,” Ovechkin added.
“Alex is one of those big-game guys,” Capitals coach Bruce
Boudreau said. “You keep throwing him out there and throwing
out there and eventually good things will happen.”
Ovechkin was quiet through two periods, but snapped a 2-2 tie
with an unassisted goal with 7:08 left in the third. He then
scored off a goal-mouth scramble when Washington was on the
power play to give the Capitals a two-goal cushion.
“They pay him to score and that’s what he did at the end,”
Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
Washington survived a frantic final 1 1/2 minutes as the Red
Wings skated with a 6-on-3 advantage, pulling goaltender Ty
Conklin after the Capitals were called for consecutive
“We were bombing away,” Babcock said. “We had good rebounding
opportunities. Goaltending bailed them out.”
Playing without regulars Chris Chelios, Tomas Holmstrom and
Henrik Zetterberg, the Red Wings suffered their season-high
fifth straight loss.
“Anytime you’re not winning on a regular basis, there are things
you’ve got to do better,” Babcock added.
Zetterberg missed his second straight game with back spasms
after signing a 12-year, $72 million contract extension
The Red Wings grabbed a 1-0 lead with 1:54 left in the opening
period as Ville Leino scored his first career goal in his NHL
However, the lead lasted less than a minute as Viktor Kozlov
registered his 11th of the season to tie it for the Capitals 57
The two goals in the second period also were scored late, with
Mike Green notching his 14th with 2:41 left to give Washington a
“They’re so patient and so smart with the puck,” Green said.
“Once we slowed down our game, we played almost like them.”
Detroit tied it with 50 seconds remaining in the period on Johan
Franzen’s power-play goal, his 22nd of the campaign.
Theodore recorded 27 saves for the Capitals, including a number
of stops in the frenetic final moments.
“It showed sacrifice,” Boudreau said. “Everybody was blocking
shots and doing whatever you have to do to preserve the win, so
that was nice to see.”
Conklin turned aside 23 shots for the Red Wings.