Ovechkin scored two rebounding goals in the final seven minutes to give the Washington Capitals their seventh straight victory coming back to beat the New York Rangers 2-1 on Friday night.
A hit from great Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren who equalized Ovechkin and snapped his stick may only have woken up one of hockey’s greatest goalscorers, who once again showed he can put the puck in. the net in all directions.
“Sometimes you have to get the ones that are really grainy,” Ovechkin said. “It’s always the same whether it’s the goal of my place or whatever. This is the most important goal, and it will take it. ”
Ovechkin equalized with 6:42 left by pushing a loose puck past goaltender Alexandar Georgiev and put the Capitals in the lead on a nearly identical game with 3:33 left. He has scored five goals in a row and scored seven goals in the last seven games.
“He’s got a great determination to get in front of the net and put the puck in,” said defenseman Justin Schultz, who landed the opening shot that led to Ovechkin’s opening goal. “It was huge for us tonight. ”
The longtime Washington captain now leads the team with 14 goals. After coming in exclusive possession of sixth on the NHL’s career goals list earlier in the week, Ovechkin’s goals against the Rangers were our 719 and 720, pushing him closer to Marcel Dionne in fifth.
“He’s a Hall of Fame member who always finds ways to score,” said interim Rangers coach Kris Knoblauch, who led the bench for a second straight game with David Quinn and his team unavailable in because of the NHL’s COVID protocol.
Ovechkin’s late-game heroics kept the Capitals’ winning streak alive after a lackluster first 50 minutes. They had just 12 shots on goal going into the game that led to their tying goal, and New York was heading for a second straight shutout victory.
Instead, Vitek Vanecek could celebrate his 13th win of the season after stopping 32 shots. New York’s only goal came on the power play when Artemi Panarin scored his eighth of the season.
“We liked the way we played for the most part,” said Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. “We had some rebounds in front in the last (seven) minutes. It’s hard to lose that way. ”
Panarin has registered three goals and four assists for a four-game streak in points since returning from a two-week break. Georgiev allowed Ovechkin just those two goals on 18 shots in the loss.
While the Washington players bit Lindgren a lot after his open-ice blow to Ovechkin midway through the second period, Ovechkin himself had no problem with that.
“It was a big success,” Ovechkin said. “He hit my stick. It’s broken. It was a good shot. It’s hockey. ”
No problem with the Rangers either.
“It’s just their team defending their star player,” Knoblauch said. “He wasn’t aiming for a star player or a headhunt or anything like that. He just played like Lindy does. ”
WILSON ALMOST BACK
Capitals winger Tom Wilson has now served his seven-game suspension for tackling Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo on March 5. It was his fifth NHL suspension, but the first since fall 2018.
“I have to keep adjusting and I think the game is still adjusting from year to year,” Wilson said. “At the end of the day, that can’t happen. I can’t miss seven games. I can’t miss a game. I have to be part of the roster. ”
Wilson was one of Washington’s best players all around this season before being suspended, with seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points in 21 games. Winning all seven games without him was fine, but coach Peter Laviolette said the Capitals were missing Wilson’s presence.
“He brings so much to our team – just his energy, to have him in the room and on the bench with his size, his game and his physicality,” Laviolette said. “We will certainly be happy to see him again. ”
Rangers reported that goaltender Igor Shesterkin skated Friday morning and remains day to day with a strained groin. Keith Kinkaid backed Georgiev while Shesterkin missed his eighth consecutive game since his injury on March 4.
ELEVEN AND SIX
Without Wilson and center Lars Eller, who missed a third straight game with a lower-body injury, the Capitals have dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen because they don’t have the salary cap space for them. recall another attacker. Although defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk is in uniform, he hasn’t skated a single shift and has accumulated a total of 7:51 ice time in the last three games.
These teams face off again on Saturday night in Washington.