Alex Ovechkin

Video: Ovechkin’s latest goal hints at return to form


Aside from the oddness of wearing No. 32, Alex Ovechkin is displaying glimpses of the blistering sniper from his 50+ goal seasons.

Firing 11 shots on goal in his duel with Ilya Kovalchuk was the first good sign.

While he didn’t carve his way through defensemen like he did during his most famous tallies, this slam-dunk slapper also conjures the good old days of Ovechkin lighting up scoreboards:

He’s not leaving the rest of the KHL in the dust with three goals (that power-play bit included) and five assists in seven games, but there are traces of the infectiously joyous Ovi before things got a little moodier in Washington.

Ovechkin’s KHL numbers could start piling up if his shooting percentage climbs. He’s already registered 41 shots on goal in those seven contests, showing the trigger-happy tendencies that made him so dangerous in his best stretches.

Since putting up an astonishing 528 shots on goal in 2008-09, he’s been more gun-shy in each season, dipping to a career-low 303 last season.

That’s still a ton of attempts for a normal player, but Ovechkin’s aim isn’t to be normal.

Perhaps a palate cleanser overseas might just change his trajectory, then. (If he comes back to the NHL, of course.)

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: