Alex Ovechkin

PHT Morning Skate: Girgensons rap, more Ovechkin kindness

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Finding some good news in the seemingly familiar situation for the Toronto Maple Leafs. (The Hockey News)

Henrik Zetterberg scored two points in the 800th game of his NHL career last night. (MLive.com)

A look at the “Birthplace of Hockey.” (Greatest Hockey Legends)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting an $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Thursday night’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Thursday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

In case voting him into the 2015 All-Star Game wasn’t enough of a clue that Zemgus Girgensons has his native Latvia’s attention, feast your eyes (and ears) on this (H/T to Josh Flynn):

Alex Ovechkin is enjoying a hot streak in the best way lately, as it seems like heartwarming stories about his kindness toward fans keep popping up. Apparently a fan wanted a stick from warm-ups for her birthday last night:

But he did it one better:

Oshie, Ovechkin, and Price are NHL’s three stars of the week

Blues winger T.J. Oshie, Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin, and Canadiens goalie Carey Price have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.

From NHL.com:

Oshie paced all players with five goals and shared the League lead with seven points to power the Blues (23-13-3, 49 points) to two wins in four starts. He collected one assist in a 3-0 triumph over the Colorado Avalanche Dec. 29.

Ovechkin recorded 1-1—2 in all three of his games, totaling 3-3—6 to lead the Capitals (20-11-7, 47 points) to five out of a possible six standings points.

Price went 3-0-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average and .952 save percentage to backstop the Canadiens (26-11-2, 54 points) to four straight victories and first place in the Eastern Conference.

That’s good news for the Blues that Oshie is starting to find the back of the net. He only had five goals through his first 28 games, during which his name came up in trade rumors.

Related: Oshie nets hat trick as Blues bombard Sharks

Luongo says he’s fine after collision with Ovechkin (Update)

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The Florida Panthers have been frisky this season, and Roberto Luongo’s been a big part of that. Hopefully he didn’t get hurt too badly on Sunday, then.

Luongo initially shook off a significant collision with Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin late in the first period, but he didn’t return to action in the final frame. It looks like Al Montoya will take over for the remainder of the contest while an update may come sometime after the game’s over, according to the Miami Herald’s George Richards.

About the best news is that he returned to the bench midway through the third period.

Update: Luongo, 35, said that he’s fine and just left the game for precautionary reasons, Richards reports.

There was no penalty on the play as Ovechkin collided with Luongo, who was trying to stop a chance in bold Dominik Hasek-like fashion.

Here’s video of the collision:

D.C. Thriller: Brouwer the hero as Caps beat ‘Hawks in Winter Classic

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WASHINGTON — In the end, the ‘Hawks got beat by one of their own.

Troy Brouwer, who spent the first five years of his career in Chicago, scored with 13 seconds left to give the Washington Capitals a 3-2 win at the 2015 Winter Classic.

Brouwer’s heroics came with the Caps on the man advantage, on something of a broken play — Alex Ovechkin’s stick shattered (courtesy a Brandon Saad slash) on his original shot and the puck went to Brouwer, who made no mistake firing past Corey Crawford.

Not captured in that video was an angry Jonathan Toews. The Chicago captain was bitterly displeased with his hooking call on Karl Alzner that led to the game-winning goal, and let the officials know about it while skating off the ice following the game.

For the Capitals, though, no matter. They were elated and, with the win, became the first team in NHL history to win two Winter Classics.

The contest was entertaining from tip to tail. In front of a crowd of 42,832, the Caps and ‘Hawks put on a good show hat featured a small, early wrinkle; at the 10-minute mark of the opening frame, the two sides switched ends to balance out the sun and glare factor.

That first period was also notable for the volume of scoring — three goals in the opening 14 minutes.

Eric Fehr kicked things off at the 7:01 mark, converting nicely on an unassisted breakaway to become the NHL’s all-time leader in outdoor game scoring, with three career tallies.

Nearly five minutes later, Washington doubled its lead when captain Alex Ovechkin, slammed him his 18th of the season on assists from Mike Green and Jack Hillen. The goal pushed Ovechkin into a tie for sixth in the NHL in goals, along with Toronto’s Phil Kessel and his Winter Classic opponent on the day — Patrick Kane.

Speaking of Kane, he played a key role in staging Chicago’s comeback. No. 88 notched an assist on Patrick Sharp’s power play tally at 13:36 of the opening frame, one that cut Washington’s lead to one.

Saad evened things up at two just 3:15 into the second period, and the score stayed knotted until Brouwer’s late heroics.

Notes

With his assist on Saad’s goal, Toews became the NHL’s all-time leading scorer in outdoor games, with two goals and five points in three contests… Multi-point efforts were put forth by Ovechkin (one goal, one assist) and Green (two assists)… The two teams finished with 35 shots each… Chicago went 1-for-6 on the power play, but will lament not capitalizing on a length 5-on-3 in the second period… the ‘Hawks failed to register a shot on goal with the two-man advantage.

Caps, ‘Hawks tied 2-2 after two periods of Winter Classic

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WASHINGTON — We’re even through two at Nationals Park.

The Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals sit tied 2-2 through 40 minutes, after an entertaining middle frame that lacked the scoring of the opener but still provided noteworthy moments.

The first few minutes were mostly about Washington captain Alex Ovechkin, who twice drew iron. On one particularly wild sequence, Ovechkin intercepted a Duncan Keith drop pass and was stoned on a breakaway by Corey Crawford — then fired the rebound off the post.

Shortly thereafter, Chicago tied it up.

Brandon Saad scored his ninth goal of the season — on helpers from Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa — at the 3:15 mark, erasing Washington’s 2-0 lead.

Following Saad’s marker, a new trend emerged — Washington’s penalty problems.

The Caps took three in a six-minute span, including a pair that put Chicago on a 5-on-3 for nearly 90 seconds. Tom Wilson (goalie interference on Crawford) and John Carlson (high-sticking Andrew Shaw) were the guilty parties, but their teammates — and a lacklustre ‘Hawks power play — bailed them out; Chicago didn’t manage a single shot with the two-man advantage, and the Caps faithful responded to the all-important kill with a healthy round of applause.

Shots on goal finished 13-7 in Chicago’s favor for the second frame; a stark contrast from the first period, when Washington out-shot the ‘Hawks 15-13.