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Friday Roundup/Caps 5, Habs 4 (OT)

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Super Stats - Postgame]

I really don't want to start a theological debate here, but I have to ask the question: is it possible that Alexander Ovechkin is the second coming of Jesus? Sure, I've hinted at it before, but after last night's performance, I think we can safely rule out Number Eight being a mere mortal. Maybe he's just Superman. I dunno. But further research is definitely required on this topic, and I'll get back to you with the results.

Some thoughts on an enormous win:
  • Ovechkin's line for the night - 4 goals, 1 assist, +4, 6 shots on goal, 5 hits. Monstrous, and at some point real soon, we're going to start using the H-word around here.
  • Viktor Kozlov now has 10 goals, 25 assists and a +10 rating on the season. More importantly, he now has 6 goals, 4 assists and a +6 rating in eight games since Michael Nylander was shelved for the year. The chemistry on the top line is obviously fantastic right now, but might the team be better off moving Koz to the second line pivot? Neither Boyd Gordon nor Brooks Laich can adequately fill that role, and the result is that Alexander Semin is rendered less effective because defenses can back in much more when matching up against the line. Sure, Semin has had his goals since Nyls got hurt, but only one even-strength goal in his last six games is an indication that he isn't getting great chances, and you need only look at his centers to see why. If the team isn't going to go outside the organization for another top six center, either Kozlov or Nicklas Backstrom may have to be bumped from the top line to add to the secondary scoring threat - in the last five games, the Caps have only gotten two even-strength goals from someone other than Alex or Viktor.
  • Speaking of Backstrom, he was credited with six takeaways. It's hard to believe how complete a player he is already.
  • To the a-hole who threw his free burrito on the ice - that move was so wrong in so many ways. Go back to Philly.
  • Matt Bradley showed great wheels on a pair of chances.
  • Milan Jurcina continues to play his best hockey of the season, hitting everything that moves, blocking shots, and last night adding a beauty of an assist on Ovechkin's first goal.
  • If it wasn't for his high-stick that caught Ovie under his left eye, I wouldn't have known Alexei Kovalev was even dressed for the game.
  • Say what you want about him, but Tom Poti is gutting it out every night. You can tell his shoulder ain't right.
  • The discipline, for the most part, was better last night than it was on Tuesday, but Donald Brashear's roughing penalty was a bad one, and uncharacteristic of his play of late.
  • Kudos to Matt Pettinger for making it through January without scoring a goal. His one point in the month (a helper against Pittsburgh) topped his November total of zero points, and fell just two points short of his most productive month of the season, October.
  • Finally, the goaltending. Olie Kolzig made a number of nice stops, but also had a momentary mental/physical breakdown or two. And given that he faced 21 shots in 63-plus minutes, we probably could have guessed he'd have a lousy save percentage and GAA - and a win - on the night. But here's your bottom line - he's 8-2-0 in his last 11 home starts and 8-2-1 in his last 11 starts overall. The goals against and save percentage stink, but the team keeps winning in spite of with him in goal, begging the question, "Who do you start on Saturday night in the biggest game of the year against Atlanta?"
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

I wonder if AO read this or this before last night's game (h/t CapsNut). I look forward to reading Fisher and Zurkowsky following last night's game.... Marginally Hockey-Related Funny.... Not At All Hockey-Related Funny.... Happy Anniversary, Gary!

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Alexander Ovechkin (4G, including the OT game-winner, A, +4, 6 SOG, 5 hits)
  • Ross: Alexander Ovechkin (5 points)
  • Norris: Tim Gleason (G, A, +2, 4 hits, 4 BkS)
  • Vezina: Tim Thomas (W, 30 saves on 31 shots against)
  • Richard: Alexander Ovechkin (4G)
  • Calder: Matt Moulson (G, +2, 4 SOG, 2 TkA, 3 BkS)
  • Aiken: Pascal Leclaire (L, 4 goals allowed on 23 shots against in two periods of work)