Leave it to Alex Ovechkin (and an astounding power play unit) to wash away the bitter taste of what seemed like a sure defeat for the Washington Capitals.
(Ovechkin’s partner-in-crime Nicklas Backstrom was phenomenal in his own right, scoring a goal and four assists for a five-point night.)
The Tampa Bay Lightning built a discouraging 3-0 lead on Tuesday, but Ovechkin & Co. roared back to win 6-5 via their captain’s impressive four-goal performance and the shootout.
Ovechkin started off by giving the Capitals some life with this 3-1 goal off the borderline unfair faceoff win + one-timer routine:
(Aside from winning the faceoff or hoping Ovi flubs the shot, it’s tough to give much advice in stopping that.)
The first of Ovechkin’s two power-play goals following Richard Panik’s boarding major featured a beautiful play between No. 8 and Marcus Johansson:
Ovi’s hat trick goal was another one of those nearly hopeless situations for opponents. It also might have provided a little redemption for Mike Green:
Finally, Ovechkin tied it up with about 30 seconds left, giving him four goals on the night and a ridiculous 26 goals in just 29 games.
That being said, he didn’t score in the shootout. Slacker.
The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.
“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.
“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”
While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.
“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”
Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?
News and notes from around the crease…
Jones goes for San Jose
Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.
Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.
For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.
Markstrom out for Vancouver
Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.
Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.
For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.
Habs at Leafs: Carey Price vs. Jonathan Bernier
Rangers at ‘Hawks: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Corey Crawford