Alexander Ovechkin decided to join Russian comrade Ilya Kovalchuk in the 30-goal club this season. He just decided to do it with a vintage night Saturday against the East’s best team up at Scotia Bank Place.
The exciting third-year 22 year-old from Moscow scored four goals and an assist in a high scoring 8-6 win over the Senators. It was his first career four-goal game.
Even more amazing was that he was coming off a leg cut suffered in an OT loss to the Penguins Thursday which needed stitches.
No matter as the former 2005-06 Calder winner pulled within two goals of league leader Kovalchuk who tallied once in a 5-0 Thrashing of Boston last night.
“Oh yeah, it was bothering me,” Ovechkin later admitted to the AP. “It was a little bit of pain but it’s OK, I feel pretty good tonight. My parents were here, they arrived from Moscow and I was excited. It was a great time.”
No wonder he put on a show.
“What impresses me most is that he actually played tonight,” Capital teammate Olaf Kolzig noted. “If you guys would have seen the gash on his leg and I know a lot of guys were, not begging him but leaning towards, ‘Hey, you think you can play tonight?’ He had a lot of courage and he put on a heck of a show.”
The 14 total goals made for a tough night in net. Something Kolzig eluded to.
“It was definitely a ratings booster for the TV stations and I’m sure the fans got their money’s worth, but I’m too old for these kind of games,” he said. “It’s going to force me to retire sooner than I want.”
The game featured the first career hat trick for underrated Ottawa center Mike Fisher. He scored all three in the third period trying to lead a comeback from 5-2 down.
“It’s frustrating to lose that one when we were kind of close and it was not a great game for us,” Fisher said after tallying shorthanded, on the power play and at even strength to be tabbed as the game’s 2nd Star in the loss. “That would have been sweet to be able to come back but overall we’ve got to be better. We can’t put ourselves in that position.”
Teammate Daniel Alfredsson also scored twice including on a penalty shot- becoming just the ninth shooter to beat a goalie in over 30 chances this season.
Caps’ rookie center Nicklas Backstrom finished with a goal and two helpers as did Alexander Semin. Ex-Ranger Michael Nylander also scored twice in a wild game which saw nine players (Wsh-5, Ott-4) post multi-point nights.
It was Ovechkin’s third career hat trick and first since Dec. 1, 2006 against Atlanta.
Here are the highlights: