BOSTON — Washington Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin is one of the best scorers and top power-play guys in the entire NHL. But with the way the Bruins treated him Saturday, you’d think the Caps captain was just another guy out there.
The Bruins, usually one of the most responsible and defensive-minded teams in hockey, played like they forgot about Ovechkin in Washington’s 4-2 win over the B’s at TD Garden. Ovechkin notched his 800th career point as he scored a pair of power-play goals to lead the Capitals to victory.
Ovechkin got whatever he wanted pretty much all afternoon. The reigning Hart Trophy winner scored the two goals — both on the power play — and was a menace all day. He was able to put a game-high nine shots on goal while having two more blocked during his 19:52 of ice time.
Where the Bruins struggled to contain Ovechkin most, however, was on the power play. Ovechkin set the tone with an early scoring chance on a one-timer from his favorite power-play spot on the ice — right around the left faceoff circle. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask bailed out those in front of him by stopping that open chance, but he didn’t have such luck later on.
Ovechkin’s first goal came when he blasted another one-timer by Rask in the first period, and then the Russian sniper added another one-timer goal on a power-play rush in the second period. His 42nd and 43rd goals of the season snapped a seven-game goalless drought against the Bruins, an effort that was helped along by uncharacteristically forgetful defensive play from Boston.
“If he gets those one-timers with a half-empty net, he’s pretty much going to score,” Rask said. “You’ve gotta recognize that he’s out there. I don’t think we did a very good job with that today. He had that shot in the first period right before he scored and then he gets that goal. That second one I was almost positive he was going shortside, but he kind of knuckled one and it went in. But if you keep giving him those one-timers, he’s going to find the back of the net.”
Of course, stopping Ovechkin is easier said than done. He’s in the middle of one of the best seasons of his likely Hall of Fame career, now with 43 goals through 57 games. He’s a virtual lock to reach 50 goals and could even push 60, if he stays healthy and continues at the pace he’s at right now.
“I feel good about myself,” Ovechkin said. “I have a good feeling about my shot. Every time I have an opportunity to shoot the puck, I’m going to shoot. When you feel hot you have to stay hot.”
The Bruins obviously knew this heading into Saturday’s game, but executing the gameplan to slow down Ovechkin was apparently even harder than it seemed. That’s a big reason the B’s have now lost two games in a row.