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How valuable is Alex Ovechkin? Well, how valuable is a win? Because #Obestkin put the Capitals on his back tonight and delivered them to victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Here’s Tuesday night's Plus/Minus:
Plus: With his 25th and 26th goals of the season in the 41st game of the season, Alex Ovechkin is more than halfway to 50 goals exactly halfway through the season.
Minus: Madison Bowey got flat out undressed tonight, and the Washington defense at large struggled to contain Carolina’s top line.
And now, this...
Ovi you sick SOB ... #Caps pic.twitter.com/NKl5ISyduJ— Marcus Boutilier (@SportMajor) January 3, 2018
Ten more notes on the game:
1. The Capitals faced the Carolina Hurricanes for the very first time this season, though they will meet their Metropolitan Division foe three more times over the next few weeks. Who would bring the big weaponry to this first divisional meeting?
2. An already injury-punctured Capitals roster had to take the ice Tuesday night without top defenseman Matt Niskanen, who sustained an “upper-body injury” against the New Jersey Devils. Also absent was Swedish winger Andre Burakovsky, who took in the festivities from the safe confines of the press box as a healthy scratch for the second straight game.
3. This Metro mash-up trickled off to a sub-optimal start for the Capitals. Five minutes into the contest, Lars Eller limped a weak pass in his own zone to John Carlson. Carlson then completely fanned on a pass of his own, placing it directly on the stick of Carolina’s Victor Rask in the low slot. Rask ripped a BB, and it was 1-0 Hurricanes early.
4. But this kitten had claws, and Washington scratched back just three minutes later. A streaking, deking Chandler Stephenson broke wide around the Carolina defense and laser-beamed a pass right on the paddle of a crashing Alex Chiasson. Ol’ A.C. knocked it home true, and tied the game 1-1 for Washington.
5. And the Capitals weren’t done in the first just yet. Devante Smith-Pelly roared into the circle with the puck and cried, “DEVANTE CAN YOU SEE?” ripping an absolutely Ovechkin-esque wrister to put the Capitals up 2-1 at the first intermission.
6. It got better for Washington. Defenseman Dmitry Orlov put in an amazing individual effort, gaining the zone by his lonesome and firing a slapshot on net. It missed, caroming off the back boards and back into play. Orlov chased down his own rebound and ripped it in, giving the Caps a 3-1 lead halfway through the second period.
7. But on an Evgeny Kuznetsov minor penalty, the Hurricanes made the Capitals pay. After effortlessly passing around a hapless, stumbling Jay Beagle, Victor Rask ripped a bullet past Braden Holtby to cut Washington’s lead to one, 3-2.
8. The third period started with all Carolina. Taylor Chorney won a board battle behind his own net, but then coughed up the puck directly to a waiting Elias Lindholm. Lindholm had naught to do but walk it in, and this one was all tied up 3-3 in the final frame.
9. Then, a weird one, and one that Madison Bowey (and Caps fans) will want to forget. Collecting the puck in the corner, Bowey got ceremonially dumped on his tuchus by Sebastian Aho. In a panicked effort to get back into the play, Bowey then ran over Braden Holtby. Now woefully out of position, Holtby could only watch helplessly as Teuvo Teravainen knocked the loose puck in to take a 4-3 lead.
10. BUT FORGET YE NOT ABOUT ALEX OVECHKIN. The Captain collected a brilliant heads-up pass from Nicklas Backstrom, then promptly hit the forehand-backhand motion to beat Cam Ward and tie the game back up at 4-4 for the Capitals!
11 (Extra). Sixty minutes wasn’t enough! (It never is). The faithful fans in Raleigh were treated to some FREE HOCKEY courtesy of overtime. AND REMEMBER WHAT WE SAID ABOUT ALEX OVECHKIN??? Well #Obestkin ripped home a gorgeous wrist shot that simply won the game for the Capitals, 5-4.
That was a wild one, folks! Two points are two points, and they’ll be going home with Washington. Next up is the St. Louis Blues at Capital One Arena on Sunday.