Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Ovechkin hits 50 in style

There are nights where you are lucky to be a sportsfan. For our sport, this was one of those special nights courtesy of Washington Capital sniper Alexander Ovechkin.

The 22 year-old league leading finisher entered yesterday's home contest against Boston needing one goal to reach the 50-goal mark for the second time in his already brilliant career. By the end of the first period, he already had a hat trick to become the third Washington Cap to reach 50 for a season joining Peter Bondra and Dennis Maruk.

It capped a terrific night for AO and teammates as they stormed the Bruins 10-2 putting up a touchdown in the opening stanza. After former Canuck Matt Cooke got the scoring started, Ovechkin tallied twice only 50 seconds apart to put his team up a field goal.

The electrifying Russian completed the first period trick when he skated in front and buried an Alexander Semin centering feed past poor Boston No.1 goalie Tim Thomas.

"Today, everything just went to the net,” a relieved Ovechkin explained to the AP of snapping a funk where he had only one goal in the last eight. “You are going to score (in) lots of games, and some you (won’t). I always tell myself not to think about goals and to just play how I can.”

It wouldn't get much better for the sixth ranked B's, who saw their six-game win streak end in humiliating fashion. They were outscored 4-2 in the final 40 minutes with Ovechkin adding two assists for a five-point night while rookie pivot Nicklas Backstrom notched a goal and three helpers.

For Ovechkin and teammates, the big game came just in time and allowed them to cut idle Southeast Division leader Carolina's lead to three with 15 games remaining (one more than the Canes).

“Just wait, we have lots of games left, and one game can mean nothing,” he pointed out . “We just have to continue to do what we did today, and try to play the same way on Wednesday.”

Amazingly, only three Caps didn't register a point including deadline pickup Sergei Fedorov, who somehow finished minus-one. Ovechkin's big night allowed him to pass fellow Russian Evgeni Malkin for the NHL scoring lead. He now leads the league with 90 points (52-38-90) while Malkin has 88 (37-51-88).

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