Alex Ovechkin couldn’t be much hotter right now. Fresh off Saturday’s hat trick, Ovechkin had a stunning 13 goals in his last 11 games going into Sunday’s game against Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Stamkos had a two goal edge on Ovechkin going into this contest. However, Stamkos was silenced by Washington Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth while Ovechkin netted the Capitals’ first goal of the game.
You can see Ovechkin’s 24th goal of the season below:
Ovechkin then tied Stamkos in the Rocket Richard Trophy race with an empty netter that finalized Washington’s 4-2 victory.
It was Ovechkin’s first empty net goal of the season, which ties him with Stamkos in that regard.
Since the NHL started awarding the Rocket Richard Trophy in 1998–99, no player has ever won it three times. However, Ovechkin and Stamkos have both won the award twice.
The 27-year-old Capitals captain has effectively bounced back from two “off” years, where he was still one of the league’s better scorers, but didn’t live up to the high standards he’s held to.
Ovechkin credited coach Adam Oates for his resurgence.
“It’s trust. That’s what I don’t have last year,” Ovechkin said, according to the Washington Post’s Katie Carrera. “When you have that kind of feelings you just want to go out there, play for your team for your coach and do your best.”
Oates demonstrated that trust by allowing Ovechkin to play late into a close game.
Ovechkin’s rise has also helped the Washington Capitals overcome their early season struggles. With Sunday’s win they now have a two point lead over the Winnipeg Jets in the Southeast Division race.
Ray Emery has agreed to join the Ontario Reign on a professional tryout, according to a team release.
The Reign are the minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.
Emery attended Tampa Bay’s training camp on a PTO, but he was released after the team claimed Kevin Poulin on waivers from the Islanders.
The 33-year-old had a 10-11-7 record with a 3.06 goals-against-average and a .894 save percentage in 31 games with the Flyers last season.
Even with starter Jonathan Quick struggling, it’s hard to envision this move leading to a return to the NHL for Emery.
The Kings have Quick and Jhonas Enroth with the big club, while veteran Peter Budaj was signed to a two-way contract on Friday.
James Reimer will get his first start of the 2015-16 season on Saturday night against Ottawa.
Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock made it clear from the beginning that Jonathan Bernier was going to start on Wednesday against Montreal and Friday in Detroit, while Reimer would get in against the Sens.
“I’ve known this for a long time that (Bernier is) starting and he’s starting on Wednesday and he’s starting on Friday. Reims is starting on Saturday,” Babcock said before the season began.
Things haven’t gone according to plan for Toronto through two games.
Not only have they lost both contests, but Bernier was pulled in yesterday’s 4-0 loss to the Red Wings, and the team has scored only one goal this season.
Reimer, who stopped 12 of 13 shots in just under 40 minutes of action against Detroit, will go up against Craig Anderson.
–Cam Talbot will try to get his first win as an Oiler as they travel to Nashville to take on the Predators. Pekka Rinne will start for the Predators.
–Carey Price and Tuukka Rask will face-off when the Canadiens and Bruins renew hostilities at the TD Garden in Boston.
–Petr Mrazek will be between the pipes when the Red Wings take on the ‘Canes in Carolina. Cam Ward gets the nod for the Hurricanes.
–Keith Kinkaid for the Devils. Braden Holtby makes his first start of the year in the Capitals’ season opener.
–Steve Mason for the Flyers. Roberto Luongo for the Panthers in their opener.
-Columbus hasn’t confirmed who their starter will be in the back half of their home-and-home with the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist will start for New York.
–Jake Allen makes his first start of the regular season for St. Louis. Devan Dubnyk for the Wild.
-The Islanders have yet to confirm their starter for tonight’s game in Chicago. Scott Darling for the ‘Hawks after Corey Crawford helped spoil the party in Brooklyn yesterday.
–Antti Niemi gets the call for Dallas after he blanked the Penguins in his first start. Semyon Varlamov for Colorado.
–Jonas Hiller for Calgary. Ryan Miller for the Canucks.
-The Penguins haven’t confirmed who their starter will be in Arizona tonight. Mike Smith will likely play in back-to-back games after beating the Kings on Friday.
-The Ducks have yet to confirm their starter. Martin Jones will start for San Jose.