Capitals

Capitals

For every historic moment in sports, there’s another side to the story.

The Soviets remember the 1980 Miracle on Ice a lot differently than Team USA does. There are fans in Utah who still argue Michael Jordan pushed off Bryon Russell in the 1998 NBA Finals.

For every great team moment, there’s an opponent. For every major goal, there’s a goalie who was beaten.

On Monday, the Winnipeg Jets found themselves on the wrong side of Alex Ovechkin’s 600th career goal which left them with conflicting emotions of admiration and frustration.

“Talk about some bad bounces,” goalie Connor Hellebuyck said after the game. “It hits my glove and just absolutely rockets out of it. I made a couple saves before that too. It was his time to score, I guess.”

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“I was pretty close watching it,” Patrik Laine said. “I was in a good spot. Just behind him. I was there when he made history, so I can maybe watch that someday and show that I was there getting the minus on the ice.”

When asked if there was any extra emotion among the Jets over Ovechkin’s milestone, Blake Wheeler was blunt.

“Well, he plays for the other team so not really.”

A game that was promoted as Ovechkin vs. Laine battling for supremacy in the Rocket Richard race certainly lived up to its billing. While Ovechkin scored twice, Laine scored a goal of its own, a third period tally that tied the game at 2 and ultimately forced overtime.

 

Afterward, however, Laine did not see the silver lining of his performance in what was ultimately a losing effort.

“I'm not satisfied with that,” he said. “We were looking for the win and didn't get it so I'm not satisfied. And I'm not happy that I scored and he scored, but maybe later.”

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Obviously the Jets were not blind to the historical context of Ovechkin’s performance. For them, getting two points mattered more than the accomlishment of their opponent.

The admiration was certainly there – the Jets held back from the faceoff circle after the goal allowing the fans to further recognize Ovechkin – but Winnipeg was focused on trying to win, not on being a footnote to history.

“Six hundred goals is incredible, especially at his age,” Wheeler said. “Wasn't something we focused on, but I'm sure every guy probably acknowledges some time on the ice, congrats. It's a pretty rare accomplishment, especially nowadays.”

As for how Hellebuyck handled being on the wrong end of Ovechkin’s 600th goal, well, he’s used to it by now.

In just the third season of his NHL career, Hellebuyck has already been a frequent victim to history. He was in net when Sidney Crosby scored his 1,000th point on Feb. 16, 2017, and he was also in net when Phil Kessel scored goal No. 300 on Oct. 26, 2017.

“I'm definitely going to be in some historical film,” Hellebuyck said.

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