T.J. Oshie did just about everything a hockey player can do Friday night in the Capitals’ 2-1 shootout victory over the Boston Bruins in the sixth of seven preseason games.
Oshie assisted on Alex Ovechkin’s game-tying goal in the waning minutes of regulation. He made goaltender Jremy Smith’s head spin with the flick of his wrists in the shootout. He pulled off a complete spin-a-rama for a scoring chance.
And he unknowingly went toe-to-toe with mammoth 6-foot-4, 212-pound defenseman Adam McQuaid, which might have been his most questionable decision of the night.
“That may be one of the bad things about not being well-educated on players in the East,” Oshie said with a smile. “I don’t exactly know who’s a heavy(weight) and who’s not.
“I think he might have given me an out there, but my helmet was in my face and I’m not going to back down. It was kind of fun. He might have gotten more shots than me but I got one in there.”
The fight occurred 63 seconds into the third period, after Oshie hit McQuaid behind the net.
“It wasn’t a dirty hit or anything,” McQuaid said. “I’m not really looking to fight him. Maybe he didn't know it was me. In that situation I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.
“Once he started throwing punches, what am I going to do? I tried to respect the situation.”
Alex Ovechkin said he was happy to see Oshie, who stands 5-11, 189, stand up to McQuaid.
“That’s not easy, but Osh is a tough customer as well,” Ovechkin said. “I was up close and I saw a couple good hits in his face. He’s not afraid, especially against big guys. He’s not that big, but he’s strong.”
Oshie said he enjoys playing with Ovechkin and center Evgeny Kuznetsov, but wants to play a simpler game with them and avoid making dangerous stretch passes looking for breakaways.
“I brought more of a simpler game tonight,” Oshie said. “I worked on turning pucks over and getting on the forecheck and I think that suited us better than me playing too offensive. I just tried to put my head down and work hard. When you put that work ahead of skill the skill can come out later.”
Actually, Oshie's shootout skills came out following a scoreless 3-on-3 overtime that featured a 4-on-3 power play by the Bruins. As the Caps' first shooter, Oshie beat goalie Jeremy Smith and saw Kuznetsov beat him again on the Caps' second shot to give the Caps the win, thanks to a pair of shootout saves by Braden Holtby.
"I said on the bench going into the shootout, 'I'm running out of moves already," Oshie said. "So let’s win some games early so I can keep some of them."