Observers who want Alex Ovechkin to assert himself some more should probably make note of his work in Tuesday’s combative game between the Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers.
The 27-year-old star scored a goal and an assist tonight, but it was his battle with Kris Versteeg that really stood out. Things got started when Ovechkin delivered this hit, which left the 26-year-old winger banged up:
Versteeg retaliated with a crosscheck on Ovi later in the game, prompting the two to drop the gloves:
This represents just the fourth NHL fight for Ovechkin (if you include one in the 2006-07 preseason), according to Hockey Fights. His most recent bit of fisticuffs came against Brandon Dubinsky on Dec. 12, 2010.
Ovechkin ended up getting the last laugh, as the Capitals won 6-5 in overtime.
It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.
As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?
If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.
Jarret Stoll: "our penalty kill let us down tonight." #mnwild
Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.
Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.
The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.
Pominville: "It's been a while since we showed that much fight. As long as we keep fighting…we'll find our way out of this."
Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.
The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.
You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.
At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.
Niklas Hjalmarsson: "Yeah, that was a big win for us. Corey was unbelievable, as usual." #Blackhawks
Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.
Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.
Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:
That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.
Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.