December 30, 2011
It's strange to suggest that one of the best players on the planet badly needed a breakout game, but Ovechkin did, and Friday's 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres might have been it. Ovechkin scored twice and looked dangerous all evening, earning "Ovie!" chants from the Capitals fans for the first times in what seemed like ages. Check out the one-timer (and Alex Semin's nifty touch-pass in the neutral zone) on his second goal:
It was Ovechkin's second consecutive multi-point game after going without one since early November. The Capitals' captain now has points in his last five games, his longest point streak of the season.
Tough loss for the Calgary Flames, as they chased Alex Auld by jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, only to watch the Senators slowly chip away at the deficit by scoring twice in the second and tying the game early in the third on an Erik Karlsson goal. Then, to make matters worse, Daniel Alfredsson scored the 400th goal of his career to win the game for the Senators 4-3 in overtime. It couldn't have come at a better time, unless you were cheering for Calgary:
No. 3 Star: Leland Irving, Calgary Flames
It wasn't all bad for the Flames (only mostly). The game may have slipped away, but it certainly wasn't the fault of rookie netminder Leland Irving, who stopped 45 shots in the game to earn the Flames the charity point. Irving has now earned Calgary at least a point in all three of his NHL starts, and when I say earned, I mean earned. Friday was the second time that the Barrhead, Alberta native has faced over 40 shots. The other occasion, versus the Florida Panthers, ended in an overtime loss as well.
Honourable mention: Brad Richards had a goal and an assist and Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves in the New York Rangers' 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers... Brent Seabrook scored the game-winner 1:52 into the third period as the Chicago Blackhawks topped the Detroit Red Wings 3-2... Pekka Rinne stopped 35 of 36 shots as well as another five of five in the shootout as the Predators edged the St. Louis Blues 2-1.
Dishonourable mention: Did I mention the Flames coughed up a three-goal lead? With regurgitation skills like that, they should go into escapology .... Ugly scene in Florida, as a positional battle between Tomas Kopecky and Michael Del Zotto in front of the Rangers' net led to Del Zotto crosschecking Kopecky in back the head, Kopecky suckering Del Zotto in the side of the head, and then Michael Rupp punching Kopecky five times on the top of the head. Seriously, do no one read hockey hugs?