Ovechkin responds to Knuble’s clown comments: “It’s not my problem”

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A day after Washington suffered their first loss at home, the Capitals had more to answer to than just a regular season defeat. You may remember that Mike Knuble had some harsh comments for his teammates and the work ethic last night. When a guy throws around words like “bunch of clowns” and “losers” when talking about his own team, you know things went sideways.

Here’s what Caps captain Alexander Ovechkin had to say about Knuble’s comments: “It’s not my problem.” Nice leadership. He went on to acknowledge that he also thought that his team played like a bunch of clowns because there was a lack of effort. He went onto talk about Knuble’s particular comments and the motivation they may provide. “I think somebody was mad,” Ovechkin said. “I think motivation is with us. It’s not just about words. If fans say something like we’re clowns or a group of idiots, it’s not going to be motivation for us. The motivation is we’re losing right now.”

Just about everyone in the Caps locker room was asked about the postgame comments—just about everyone understood where Knuble was coming from with his words. Jason Chimera said that the hard work needs to start with Ovechkin and Alexander Semin; then added that the hard workers on the team need give even more to the team.

If Knuble was going to feel any repercussions for his comments, Bruce Boudreau would be the man delivering the punishment. You probably shouldn’t hold your breath if you expect the veteran to be reprimanded. When asked about Knuble’s words and his dedication at the Caps tough practice today, Boudreau was to the point. “That’s what leaders do,” the Caps coach said. “They get mad and then they lead by example. The oldest guy out here was working as hard or harder than anybody.”

Now let’s see if the comments and bag skate have any effect on the ice. We’ll find out Friday night in New Jersey.

Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

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Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.