The best of the NHL was on display Monday in Montreal where the Capitals edged the Canadians 5-4 in overtime. Within the game, a superstar matchup emerged as the top goal scorer of his generation locked horns with arguably the best goalie in the world in an incredible bout that lived up to all the hype that surrounded the game.
”It’s great for the fans, great for everything,” Brett Connolly said. “It’s good to see two really good players go at it like that.”
Throughout his career, Alex Ovechkin has tormented Montreal goalie Carey Price. In 24 regular season games, he has scored on Price 18 times. On Monday, Ovechkin added two more goals to that total.
In the first period, Tom Wilson delivered a blistering pass through traffic right to the tape of Ovechkin who tipped it in past a helpless Price who had been waiting for the shot. He would add a second goal in the third period from the office with the Caps on a two-man advantage.
At that point, a hat trick seemed like a foregone conclusion, but that’s when Price began to battle back.
Price robbed Ovechkin of goal No. 3 with not one, but two brilliant saves in the third period to help force overtime.
With the puck on the left wall, Ovechkin charged the net from the right midway into the third period. Connolly managed to find him with the pass and Ovechkin delivered a one-touch shot that Price snared out of the air Statue-of-Liberty style. Somehow Price managed to get over from post to post to snag the puck with the glove and he made sure to put some extra flair on the save.
With the score still tied at four, Ovechkin made one final push to win the game in regulation.
This time it was Wilson on the right with Ovechkin setting up for the one-timer on the left. Wilson delivered the pass and Ovechkin fired what would have been a buzzer-beater goal with just two seconds left in regulation. Price slid to cover the cross-ice shot, but could not get completely over in time to block the shot. He lifted his blocker up in desperation and just managed to catch the puck and send it out of play.
“Obviously Alex made a great shot, hit the knob of his stick,” Braden Holtby said. “It’s one of those unlucky things. It just happens.”
It was a spectacular save the brought that Montreal faithful to their feet and even drew recognition from Ovechkin himself.
Ovechkin’s initial reaction was one of disbelief, but he soon began applauding along with the crowd and skated over to give the netminder his due.
“It was a pretty cool moment, pretty beautiful save and the fans was cheering for him,” Ovechkin said. “I was kind of same.”
The Caps would get the last laugh with the overtime winner, but this was a rare occasion in which the result of the game as largely overshadowed by the drama that unfolded between two players.
Ovechkin finished the game with two goals against Price, while Price finished with 29 saves including two third period beauties to deny Ovechkin his hat trick.
Capitals head coach Todd Reirden was effusive of his praise of both players after the game.
“It’s stars like that that put on performances like they both did tonight that just make it worth every dime that it costs to come to the game and worth the price of admission tonight for certain with those two."
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