|ALEX OVECHKIN, Capitals|
Alex Ovechkin likely came into the game against archrival Pittsburgh relishing the opportunity to score his 1000th point against the team the Capitals have waged so many monumental battles with during his time in Washington. That being the case, the final 59 minutes and 25 seconds of the game were highly anticlimactic.
Ovechkin took all of 35 seconds to beat arch-nemesis Sidney Crosby to the coveted milestone. In their 12th season, 1000 points was in the sights of the two longtime rivals. With both teams exhibiting great strength again this year, perhaps a third playoff matchup involving the two marquee players looms in the near future.
But the long regular season requires intervals of individual drama unneeded in the playoffs and Ovechkin reaching 1000 points on home ice against the Penguins certainly qualifies.
The goal was a beauty and a little out of the norm for Ovechkin, who is so lethal from the left circle, from where he regularly beats opposition goalies mano-a-mano without the benefit of screens being meticulously arranged for him.
On this occasion, however, Ovechkin displayed good skating and excellent stickhandling as he received a pass on the right wing at the Pittsburgh blue line and inched his way through the circle toward the slot. With a neat hesitation move, he showed the puck to Penguins defender Kris Letang and then pulled it back, coaxing Letang into extending his stick and relinquishing a parcel of ice to Ovechkin.
That small opening was all the Capitals superstar required as he fired a quick wrist shot by Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The Verizon Center went suitably bonkers, oblivious for the moment anyway that Ovechkin had also just rocketed past Maurice Richard to move into 29th place on the all-time NHL goal list.
|1/11/2017 vs. Pittsburgh|