Three things to learn from Ovi's hat trick

Three things to learn from Ovi's hat trick
December 3, 2012, 11:00 am
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Ovie nets hat trick in Russia

In case you missed it over the weekend, Alex Ovechkin netted his first hat trick of the season for Dynamo Moscow, pulling off the trifecta at even strength, on the power play and into an empty net.

The hat trick, which can be seen here, was Ovie’s first since Jan. 22, 2011 in Toronto. But the three goals are notable in their own ways. Can you guess why?

You’ll notice on Ovechkin’s first goal that he blasts a shot from the left wing and follows up the rebound, which lands perfectly onto his backhand. It’s vintage Ovechkin, going hard to the net to collect his own garbage.

The second goal features Ovechkin playing the left point on the power play, something Bruce Boudreau and Dale Hunter were hesitant to do last season because of Ovechkin’s penchant for getting beat one-on-one after turning the puck over at the blue line.

By all indications new Capitals coach Adam Oates will utilize Ovechkin at the left point when and if the NHL resumes play. It will be interesting to see what kind of wrinkles Oates will add to the man-advantage and how that will impact Ovechkin’s production on the man-advantage.

Perhaps the most telling highlight comes on the third goal. It comes in the final minute of the game and gives Dynamo a 4-2 win over Donbass Donetsk. Under Hunter last season, you rarely – OK, never – saw Ovechkin on the ice protecting a one-goal lead in the final minute of regulation.

The one area of Ovechkin’s game that is most often criticized is his defense. He never kills penalties and is rarely counted on to preserve a one-goal victory. If Oates can make Ovechkin a complete player he can count on in all situations, it could be his greatest accomplishment as an NHL coach.

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