Alex Ovechkin had a pair of goals. Nicklas Backstrom had a pair of assists. How many times have we seen this over their respective histories? For Ovechkin, they were his 1,000th and 1,001st points, his 545th and 546th goals. For Backstrom, he just keeps piling up the helpers as the top playmaker in club history. It was the perfect formula for a well-played, well-earned win over the Penguins.
Here is Wednesday night’s plus/minus:
Plus: Alex Ovechkin. No one does it by themselves, but Ovechkin is the best finisher of his generation.
Minus: Three third period penalties. Against a team that can score like the Penguins, that is just carrying a lit match past an open barrel of gasoline.
Ten more notes on the game:
- Alex Ovechkin scored 35 seconds into the game. The play marked several milestones – 1,000th NHL point, 545th goal (passing Maurice “Rocket” Richard to capture 29th place all time), and it was his 20th goal, making it 12 straight seasons with at least 20 goals. He became the 16th player to reach the 20-goal mark in each of his first 12 seasons, but is the first to do that since Mats Sundin and Jaromir Jagr each did it in their 12th season in 2001-2002.
- Pittsburgh had a 28-16 advantage in total shot attempts in the first period. The Caps turned that around a bit in the second period, out-attempting the Penguins 23-18 in the middle frame. For the game, the Penguins had a 64-51 advantage.
- Ovechkin’s power play goal in the second period made it consecutive games with power play strikes, the first time he did that since before Thanksgiving (Games 18 and 19 against Columbus and St. Louis on November 20th and 23rd).
- The Caps held Sidney Crosby without a shot on goal, only the second time this season he was held without a shot on goal.
- Nicklas Backstrom had three assists, the second time this season he had three helpers. With a goal added, Backstrom had his second four-point game of the season, tying him for the league lead.
- Barry Trotz coached in his 1,401st game in the NHL, passing Pat Quinn and tying Ron Wilson for seventh-most all time. He also passed Quinn in wins to move into seventh-place by himself with 685 wins.
- When Braden Holtby allowed a goal (or more accurately, was victimized by an Evgeni Malkin shot that ticked off and upward from Matt Niskanen’s stick for the first Penguin goal), it interrupted a streak of almost 230 minutes in which he allowed one goal on 109 shots, a 0.26 goals against average and a .991 save percentage with two shutouts.
- T.J. Oshie took three minor penalties. The six penalty minutes was a season high for him in a single game. Oshie also had three assists, his first three-helper game of the season.
- This was the fourth time in seven games the Caps scored five or more goals.
- Lars Eller got credit for the final goal, breaking a nine-game streak without a goal.
And now, this...