One of these days, we’ll get tired of watching Alex Ovechkin score big goals in big moments to win games the Capitals desperately need to win.
OK, maybe not.
Locked in a see-saw battle with the Detroit Red Wings in which 10 goals were not enough to determine a winner through 60 minutes, Ovechkin stepped to the plate with 2:37 gone in overtime and the Capitals on the power play.
And yes, the Babe Ruth of hockey delivered.
When Caps defenseman John Carlson received a pass from Nicklas Backstrom at the right point, everyone inside VerizonCenter knew he would pass it over to Ovechkin for a one-timer from the top of the left circle.
“Great goal. Big goal for us,” Capitals coach Adam Oates said. “Especially, I mean, I can’t tell you guys and ladies how bad that ice is at that time of the game. It’s horrific. So that pass from Carly to him, for him to get good wood on it is really difficult, let alone to find that spot.”
Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard read the play perfectly, but Ovechkin’s one-timer sailed over the goalie’s right shoulder for his league-leading 39th goal in his 52nd game of the season.
The overtime win gave the Caps seven points in their last five games [3-1-1] and moved them one point behind the Red Wings and one point out of a playoff spot in the ridiculously tight Eastern Conference standings.
“Every point right now counts and I’m pretty sure it’s a good two points,” Ovechkin said. “I think both teams deserve to win.”
The Capitals also received three-point games from Joel Ward [2 goals, 1 assist] and Jason Chimera [1 goal, 2 assists] and goals from Carlson and Troy Brouwer, overcoming a hat trick from Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist.
Oates said he expects this race to go right down to the final week of the regular season.
“It’ll go right down to the end,” he said. “Every point matters. Hopefully, your wave will come and it comes at the right time.”