After getting benched, albeit briefly, in the final minute of regulation Tuesday night against the Anaheim Ducks, everyone wondered how Alex Ovechkin would respond in his next game against the Carolina Hurricanes Friday night.
Would he pout? Would he come out fire on his belly? Would he try to do too much?
Actually, Ovechkin played a nondescript first two periods before coming alive with two assists in the third as the Caps rolled to a 5-1 win in Raleigh.
"I had a couple chances," Ovechkin said. "I missed a couple very good chances in the second and third. Sometimes they just don't go in."
Reunited with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Semin, Ovechkin managed two shots on eight shifts in the first period, no shots on six shifts in a second period in which the Caps had to kill off three penalties, and one shot and two assists in seven shifts in the third. He finished the night with 10 attempts at the net -- five were blocked and two missed -- in 20:13 of ice time, above his season average of 18:36.
Aside from rookie Cody Eakin, who saw 8:45 of ice time, every Capitals forward logged 12 or more minutes against the Canes.
"That's the game we have to pay, with four lines," Ovechkin said. "Everyone is on the same page and playing well."
Ovechkin was asked an interesting question after the game -- does he feel he has to score to feel good about his play -- and his response was equally intriguing.
"No, he said. "I feel good about my game. If I don't have chances of course I get (ticked) off and start wondering what I'm doing out there. I'm happy with the way I play offensively and defensively."