Sudden thoughts and second thoughts on the Capitals’ amazing 4-3 comeback win over the Boston Bruins Tuesday night:
Vintage Ovi: Alex Ovechkin was all over the map in the win over the Bruins.
He took a slashing penalty that resulted in Brad Marchand’s shorthanded penalty shot goal; dropped Chris Kelly with a body check that was ruled interference and resulted in a power-play goal by Dougie Hamilton; and took a flat-footed hooking penalty on Marchand with 2:27 remaining in regulation that could have resulted in the game-winner.
On the flip side, Ovechkin also made three kamikaze rushes at the net, bowling over Tuukka Rask each time, and finishing with 13 attempts at the net -- four on target, four blocked, and five wide of the mark. He also managed three hits, three takeaways and two blocks.
“When he turns it on like that the force that he brings is just incredible,” Oates said. “He took on a big man like that in [6-foot-9 Zdeno] Chara – that’s a huge collision - and he really is the only forward in the league that can do that.”
Through all of that activity, Ovechkin finished the night with one assist and saw his goal-less streak extended to four games. He has not scored since netting a hat trick against the Devils on Feb. 23 and has been the target of biting criticism, especially from analyst Mike Milbury.
Asked about those comments after Tuesday’s game, Ovechkin told Sport-Express reporter Slava Malamud, “I can also voice my opinions about his work as a GM,” referring to Milbury’s time as an executive with the New York Islanders.
Fehr trade: Eric Fehr’s three-point night was just the second of his NHL career. His other three-point night came on March 3, 2008, also against the Bruins, and also at VerizonCenter, when he recorded three assists in a 10-2 win by the Capitals.
Strong finishers: The three-goal deficit was the largest the Caps have overcome this season and marked the first time all year the Bruins have lost when scoring first [9-0-1]. The Caps have also outscored their opponents 9-0 in the third period in their last five games, an indication they are better conditioned than they were at the start of the season.
Playing St. Nick: Nicklas Backstrom set up three goals in the win, marking the 19th time in his career he’s had three or more assists in a game. Backstrom’s 17 assists are tied for eighth in the NHL.
Bouncing back: After Braden Holtby allowed three goals on nine shots in the first period, Oates said he considered replacing him with backup Michal Neuvirth, who has not played a game since Feb. 7 in Pittsburgh, a 5-2 loss.
“It crossed my mind, yeah,” Oates said. “I thought about it and then I said, ‘He deserved it.’ He shut the door.”
Holtby stopped the final 24 shots he faced, including 15 in the third period, to improve his record to 8-7-0.
No rookie jitters: Rookie defenseman Steve Oleksy had a productive game, slamming Shawn Thornton into the boards in the first period, picking up an assist in the second period and blocking a big shot by David Krejci in the third. In 10:05 of ice time Oleksy finished with one assists, a plus-2, two shots, two hits, two giveaways, one takeaway and three blocks.