1. Alex Ovechkin, as you might have heard, is having a bit of a moment in these here playoffs. Most importantly, he’s been real good.
He’s leading the playoffs in goals (tied with Mark Scheifele), second in points (two behind linemate Evgeny Kuznetsov). His 14 goals and 11 assists in 22 games equates to a 52-goal/41-assist 82-game pace (which would be his most productive regular season since 2009-10), and those stats have come while facing the two-time and reigning Vezina Trophy winner, the two-time reigning Stanley Cup champion, a current Vezina finalist and the Conn Smythe Trophy front-runner (until he ran into Ovechkin, that is) in net (not to mention top defensive forwards and defensemen and playoff officiating).
The 32-year-old Ovechkin assisted on a game-winning goal in the Columbus series, had a goal and two primary assists in the last three wins of the Pittsburgh set, had the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final in Tampa, and is on a two-game goal-scoring streak in the Stanley Cup Final.
Ovechkin is powering the Caps’ 27.3 percent effective power play with five goals and ten points (as well as providing a presence that opens up options for the rest of the power play), and the Caps are outshooting (53.8 percent) and outscoring (63.3 percent) opponents with Ovechkin on the ice at five-on-five.
In other words, not only has Ovechkin not been a passenger on this Caps playoff run, he’s been driving the bus... Fred Flintstone style.
Trotz: "I think this is the most complete level that we've seen from Ovie. He's leading the right way...I think you could make a documentary on the emotions he's showed."— Michael Traikos (@Michael_Traikos) June 3, 2018
Barry Trotz: “I think is the most complete level of Ovechkin we have seen...He’s imposing his will on other individuals.”— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) June 3, 2018
"He's never been more all in than he is with this team...He's hitting everything that moves. He's blocking shots in the slot....That puts everyone else on notice that they have to be all in too."#NHLTonight discusses @ovi8 and the @Capitals' play in Game 3. pic.twitter.com/CKcuJQRWN0— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) June 3, 2018
A tone-setting goal, a primal celebration and a commitment to physical play—Alex Ovechkin was on another level in Game 3 https://t.co/N37r5ecigT— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 3, 2018
2. He’s also been an avatar for every Caps fan, openly displaying emotion and plenty of it.
Alex Ovechkin is going to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time in his career pic.twitter.com/OPWJzggq3i— Ian Oland (@ianoland) May 8, 2018
“You could probably do a documentary just on the emotions he’s gone through in these series.” -Barry Trotz on Alex Ovechkin #ALLCAPS— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) June 3, 2018
3. And so there’s a lovefest for Ovi in the media, and we’re all incredibly here for it:
Perspective: Alex Ovechkin is playing the most complete hockey of his career https://t.co/SsyzwjBp7O— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 3, 2018
It's an Ovechkin world as Washington moves to within two wins of a first-ever Stanley Cup for the franchise. https://t.co/jJlcctkloG— Scott Burnside (@OvertimeScottB) June 3, 2018
From @frank_seravalli in Washington: Alex Ovechkin was the Capitals’ 235-pound wrecking ball on skates, flying at peak Ovie level to will Washington within two wins of the #StanleyCup.https://t.co/OxehvKWl1s #TSNHockey pic.twitter.com/DBkykhNj70— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) June 3, 2018
My column on an emotionally charged Ovechkin from Game 3 and how there is suddenly separation between the Capitals and the Golden Knights. https://t.co/US7lFEegjk— steve simmons (@simmonssteve) June 3, 2018
Two more wins and “legend” status gets turned up to “immortal.”
O Captain! My Captain!