Ovechkin is hurt by a hit from Kadri pic.twitter.com/Ct2XJIdTNc— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 21, 2017
Ovechkin went down hard, and stayed down, which was perhaps the most terrifying part... because Ovechkin very rarely stays down. Even more rare are the times he’s had to be helped off, but that was exactly the case after this hit, with very little weight being put on his left leg in the process.
So the initial thoughts after the hit are concern and maybe a little bit (or a lot) of panic. After that? Assessing the hit itself - was it dirty?
Unsurprisingly, Canada’s voice of reason was on the side of “no”, because hooray for bodily harm:
From most others, however (at least those not sporting a Maple Leafs jersey), it was at best a questionable hit and possibly much worse.
What a dirty check by Kadri. Could have hit Ovechkin square and he low bridges him. Terrible hit— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) April 21, 2017
Look, hip checks are hard to do well, and injuries can happen - but there’s just no reason for Kadri to be getting as low as he does, and clearly targeting Ovechkin’s knee/leg the way he does. Because this is just gross:
Here's a close up of the frames of impact. I don't like the hit, though it seems like differing opinions in point-of-contact here. pic.twitter.com/T5czWWHyw8— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) April 21, 2017
The good news for all of us is that Ovechkin returned for the start of the third period, and appeared to be no worse for wear. He even leveled a huge hit on Jake Gardiner on his first shift back as if to show the world that he was fine, and both he and Matt Niskanen got a little bit of revenge on Kadri in the third.
Not quite eye-for-eye, but Alex Ovechkin gets a little bit of vengence on Nazem Kadri with a stick blade to the ribs pic.twitter.com/WKNffwUsd6— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) April 22, 2017
Initially looked like a dive by Kadri but look at the two-handed slash Niskanen delivered to the back of Kadri's left knee. https://t.co/kBHgyKg30e— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) April 22, 2017
An eye for an eye and all that nonsense - hopefully it’s all out of their systems now, because the focus next game needs to be on winning, not on trying to beat up Kadri.
As for the question of how he was after the hit, Ovechkin joked (?) about it after the game:
Alex Ovechkin on what he did after limping to the locker room: “I was watching TV. Just have a Coke and enjoy the match.”— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) April 22, 2017
Yeah. Hilarious. We’ll be sending you our cardiologist’s bill.
At any rate, in the aftermath we had differing opinions on the hit from both locker rooms, and apparently a clean bill of health for the captain.
Babcock said he thought there shouldn't have been a penalty on Kadri. Said Trotz probably thought it should've been a major.— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) April 22, 2017
Trotz said he and Babcock have differing opinions about Kadri's hit on Ovechkin. Didn't really go further than that.— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) April 22, 2017
Ovechkin was reevaluated after the game, Trotz said, and will be good to go for Game 6. #CapsLeafs— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) April 22, 2017
All’s well that end’s well. See you tomorrow, Nazem.
2. When Justin Williams was brought in on a two-year deal two summers ago, it was not for his regular-season performance (although there’s no question that he’s been very good for the Caps in that capacity). No, it was because of his veteran experience, his Cup rings, and his penchant for coming up big in big playoff moments.
Last night was yet another in a long list of those, as he scored the game-winner in overtime to give the Caps the 3-2 series lead. It was perhaps the least surprising outcome ever:
Playoff goal-scoring leaders in games 5/6/7 since 2012, ranked pic.twitter.com/4pAUZBNN9O— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) April 22, 2017
Trotz on JW14: "You talk about big moments—it’s one of the reasons that you love Justin Williams." #CapsLeafs— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) April 22, 2017
Oshie on Williams: "There's a level of competitiveness ...and there are some guys who can bring it higher." #CapsLeafs— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) April 22, 2017
As for the hero himself, well... he was unsurprisingly modest. Or senile.
Justin Williams: "I haven't scored that many big goals." Okeydoke— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) April 22, 2017
3. With his team one game away from the second round, Barry Trotz had this to say about the opportunity to finish off the series tomorrow night:
Trotz on wanting to close out #Leafs: "If you have the opportunity to push someone off the cliff, you want to push them off."— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) April 22, 2017
That’s...dark. Although it probably got him out of having to spend time bonding with one of the Leafs’ enforcers, so that’s a bonus:
Matt Martin on Trotz cliff comment: "Makes me not want to ever go hiking with him. Maybe it's a strong analogy but it make sense." #Leafs— Dave McCarthy (@DaveAMcCarthy) April 22, 2017
As borderline scary as the language was, he’s not wrong. The Caps now have a chance to wrap up this series in six games, and they need to take it. Because his counterpart behind the Leafs bench is putting on quite the show about coming back to DC next week:
"See you in a couple days."— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) April 22, 2017
Mike Babcock said this to every staff-member at Verizon Center as he walked to the team bus.