Ovechkin embraces intangibles as he leads Capitals past Knights

It was late in the second period of a hockey game the Washington Capitals had to win Wednesday night, his team leading 3-1, when the Hall of Fame winger and captain threw his body in front of a shot and in one motion from his knees cleared the puck through the neutral zone so as to avoid any danger for his side.

I’m not sure Alex Ovechkin makes that play last year or many other seasons during his stellar career, not sure he embraced such little and yet significant moments, but he is now, and for it the Capitals have evened this best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final at a game apiece.

You want the the greats of the greats at their absolute finest when winning the ultimate prize is at stake, and given this is Ovechkin’s first time in a final since entering the NHL in 2005, he seems intent on reaching such a standard.

Washington played as you might think a team trailing in the series would in beating the Golden Knights 3-2 before an announced record gathering of 18,702 at T-Mobile Arena, meaning the Capitals showed a focus and determination and toughness that Vegas must now combat as things head to the nation’s capital for Games 3 and 4.

Ovechkin gave the Capitals a lead they wouldn’t relinquish when blasting home a power-play goal at 5:38 of the second period, the score coming from what is his rented home with a man advantage, from the half boards on the left side of the face-off circle.

Vegas certainly didn’t offer much resistance to his presence.

I mean, the Knights know that’s where he likes to camp, yes?

Yes?

But while his first goal of this final was critical, other numbers for Ovechkin demonstrate how important his effort proved. He was credited with five hits and that block of a Colin Miller shot, active from the very first of his 25 shifts and 17:16 of ice time.

There was an aggression to Ovechkin’s play, almost desperate in nature given the long odds of winning the Cup a 2-0 hole in the series would have presented his team.

“I think that’s where the growth of Alex Ovechkin is this year, that those (little things) matter to him on a different level,” said Capitals coach Barry Trotz. “I think because of the fact we’ve had to lean on him so much this year, he’s growing as a person and growing as a player, but those little things are now important and necessary.

“That block of the shot and the clear is something that, when you’re an elite goal scorer and a captain of the team and you’re doing that, trust me, the bench takes notice. Everybody takes notice. That’s what you want to follow. You want to follow someone who does whatever is necessary.”

Ovechkin was one of several Capitals who played with such abandon, a team that lost its leading scorer in the playoffs when Evgeny Kuznetsov exited with an upper-body injury in the first period after a hit from Brayden McNabb.

As much as the final was about Vegas not taking advantage of countless opportunities — the Knights at one point had it 5-on-3 for 1:09 of the third period and couldn’t score — it was just as much or more about Washington standing tall and strong and stingy in the face of adversity.

The Capitals needed a terrific effort from center Lars Eller (who killed Vegas all evening) and what will, should Washington go on and win the series, be considered the biggest save in franchise history when Braden Holtby somehow stopped Alex Tuch’s shot from open space in front with two minutes remaining and the Knights having pulled goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

“Thank God (Holtby) is our goalie,” Ovechkin said. “He’s over there when we need him, and it was probably the save of the year for sure. Good response by all of us. We lost our top guy (in Kuznetsov) and I’m pretty sure he’s going to be fine. But (others) play extra minutes, extra shifts.

“Whatever it takes.”

It took that and a whole lot more to even this series, including a Hall of Fame player getting a little nasty and proving that 14 years later, one of the greatest to ever grace NHL ice can indeed grow and discover another level.

From his first shift Wednesday night, Alex Ovechkin played as you would expect and want in such a moment.

And for it, we have a series.

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knights Talk To Media After Thursday Practice
Golden Knights talk to media in the locker room after practice on Thursday.
Gallant Talks After Practice On Thursday
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant goes over how the lines are developing at practice.
Gerard Gallant On Win Against Sabres
Gerard Gallant talks after practice about the Golden Knights win over the Buffalo Sabres and the teams overall performance.
Cody Eakin On His Personal Improvement As A Golden Knight
Cody Eakin talks about his improvement as a Golden Knight this season and the work he put in over the summer.
Golden Edge: Knights Mood Improved After Win Against Sabres
Adam Hill, David Schoen and Ben Gotz go over how the Golden Knights are feeling after their win against the Buffalo Sabres while Alex Tuch gets a workout on the ice.
Golden Edge: Karlsson Scores First Goal; Knights Beat Sabres
Adam Hill, Ben Gotz and David Schoen go over the Golden Knights win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Golden Knights On 4-1 Win Against Buffalo
The Golden Knights react to their first win after the road trip against the Buffalo Sabres.
Golden Edge Mailbag - October 16th, 2018
Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer your Golden Knights questions.
Golden Edge: Eakin Scores Winning Goal During Final Road Trip Game
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Knights final game of the road trip against the Philadelphia Flyers
Would the NFL be accepted abroad?
Review-Journal columnist Ed Graney takes to the streets of London, England, ahead of the Oakland Raiders facing the Seattle Seahawks to find out if the NFL is accepted, if the game is understood and what its fan base is like outside of the United States.
Golden Edge: Phil Kessel Has Hat Trick in Win Over Knights
The Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Las Vegas Golden Knights 4-2. Ben Gotz and David Schoen report from Pittsburgh.
Golden Edge: Knights Lose First Stanley Cup Rematch
The Golden Knights lose 5-2 against the Washington Capitals and fall to 1-3 on the season. David Schoen and Ben Gotz report from Washington.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — October 9, 2018
Adam Hill is joined by Ben Gotz via skype from Washington, D.C. to answer questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Gallant on Washington Capitals rematch
Golden Knights Coach Gerard Gallant plays down the connection between Wednesday's game against the Washington Capitals and the Stanley Cup Final results last season.
VGS themed games from AGS at G2E Global Gaming Expo
A Golden Knights-themed slot machine was on display Tuesday at the G2E Global Gaming Expo as AGS showed two products that came out of a 3-year contract with the Knights. A video roulette game featuring a Knights helmet and an enormous slot machine were on the floor along with Knights cheerleaders, the Drumbots and Chance, the Knights' mascot. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Knights Fall to Sabres 4-2
The Sabres defeat the Golden Knights 4-2 with 3 goals in the second period. Ben Gotz and David Schoen report from Buffalo.
Golden Edge: Knights Beat Wild In Shootout
Ben Gotz and David Schoen go over the Knights comeback win against the Minnesota Wild. The Knights won 2-1 in a shootout against the Minnesota Wild. (October 7, 2018)
Golden Edge: Knights Fall In Season Opener
Elaine Wilson, Adam Hill, Ben Gotz and David Schoen go over the Golden Knights 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in their season opener. (Videographer: Heidi Fang, Edited By: Nathan Asselin)
Golden Knights React To Season Opener Loss
Golden Knights react to their 5-2 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Gold Carpet Before Golden Knights Season Opener
John Katsilometes is on the gold carpet before the Golden Knights season opener.
Golden Knights talk after practice
Marc-Andre Fleury, Max Pacioretty and Cody Eakin in the locker room on Wed. October 3, 2018.
Golden Edge: Last Practice Before Season Opener
Adam Hill and David Schoen at City National Arena during the Golden Knights' morning skate and media day before the opener Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Media Day: Gerard Gallant and George McPhee Presser
Head coach Gerard Gallant and GM George McPhee talk about Alex Tuch, Cody Eakin, Nate Schmidt, and the start of season number two for the franchise.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — October 2, 2018
Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Vegas Golden Knights show support at blood drive
Members of the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team showed up for a community blood drive on the first anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting, Oct. 1, 2018. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Knights Beat Kings 2-0
Adam Hill and David Schoen report from T-Mobile Arena after the Knights beat the Kings 2-0.
Golden Edge: Shea Theodore Returns to Practice
Adam Hill, Ben Gotz, and David Schoen are at the Golden Knight's practice where Shea Thedore is suited back up for the first time this season.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — September 25, 2018
Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Golden Edge: Knights Lose 5-3, but re-sign Shea Theodore
Bryan Salmond is in studio while Ben Gotz, Adam Hill and David Schoen report from T-Mobile Arena on the Knights preseason game vs. the Colorado Avalanche.
Golden Edge: Knights Lose 5-3 but Re-Sign Shea Theodore
Bryan Salmond is in studio and Ben Gotz, Adam Hill, and David Schoen report from T-Mobile arena on the Knights preseason game vs the Colorado Avalanche.
Golden Edge: Knights Rally To Win During Shootout
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Golden Knights shootout win against the San Jose Sharks.
Golden Edge: Knights Win Third Preseason Game
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen go over the Knights 7-2 win over the L.A. Kings.
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Golden Edge: Vegas Fans Show their Love at Fan Fest
Bryan Salmond is on the red carpet at the downtown Las Vegas Events Center as the 2018-2019 Golden Knights show up for Fan Fest.
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects after a breakout season in Sweden. He slid to the fifth round in the 2017 draft after being projected to be selected much higher. “I wasn’t happy about being a fifth-rounder. But it was good for me, too, because I didn’t have so much pressure when I came here," Elvenes said. Elvenes posted five goals and 16 points in 28 games while playing in the top league in Sweden. The Knights signed Elvenes to a three-year, entry-level contract in June.
Golden Knights rookie camp - Day 2
The Golden Knights held their second day of rookie camp at City Arena in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
William Karlsson and the Golden Knights are headed to arbitration
Of all the salary arbitration cases in the NHL this summer, none is more compelling than the one involving William Karlsson and the Golden Knights. Karlsson is seeking $6.5 million annually in arbitration. The Knights countered with an offer of $3.5 million annually. Karlsson's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Saturday in Toronto. During the hearing, the player and team present evidence. The arbitrator then has 48 hours to render a decision, and the team decides on a one- or two-year contract. Karlsson’s agent and the Knights can continue to negotiate a new contract prior to the hearing.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like