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Alex Ovechkin nets point No. 1,000 in grand fashion

Alex Ovechkin nets point No. 1,000 in grand fashion

Alex Ovechkin earned his 1,000th point in the most fitting way imaginable for one of hockey's great showmen.

It came on a scintillating toe-drag and shot just 35 seconds into Wednesday's game. At home in front of his mom, dad, brother, wife and adoring fans. On national television. With the hated Penguins in town.

And, of course, with a little help from Nicklas Backstrom.

“I don’t know how many times he has assist me on my goals,” Ovechkin said of his longtime setup man. “He’s the guy who I enjoy playing with and we understand each other well. Good chemistry together since Day One.”

That chemistry was once again on display as Backstrom set up both of Ovechkin’s goals in a commanding 5-2 Caps' victory. Dating to Backstrom’s rookie season, the soft-spoken Swede has assisted on 204 of 448 goals, or almost 46 percent of Ovechkin’s goals.  

“You can attach Backy’s name to so many of Ovi’s goals,” Coach Barry Trotz said, “that it was only fitting that his name would be there.”

And it was—with a quickness.

RELATED: Alex Ovechkin reaches yet another milestone with his 1,000th point

Ovechkin ended any suspense before everyone had settled into their seats with a goal that will no doubt end up on his all-time highlight reel. After catching Backstrom’s pass, the Caps’ captain darted into the zone, made a strong move to the inside, toe-dragged the Penguins’ best defenseman, Kris Letang, and then ripped a shot past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

“Yeah, I kind of think about it before the game, everybody’s here and it will be nice to get 1,000th point at home,” Ovechkin said. “Pretty excited, pretty happy. It’s a big moment for organization, for myself and for my teammates.”

Ovechkin downplayed the significance of hitting a thousand on a goal rather an assist.

“To be honest with you, I don’t care,” he said. “Point is a point and obviously goal is a goal. I’ll take it and move forward.”

Added Backstrom: “Every night he plays hard, so nothing new. He wants to score goals, and he wants to help the team as much as he can. It wasn’t really any surprises there, but the only thing that was a little surprising was maybe 35 seconds. That’s all it took. But that’s typical for a guy like him, though.”

Trotz said the look on Ovechkin’s face as he raced past the bench on that first shift let him know something special was about to happen.

“That was a great start for him and for us,” Trotz said. “He sort of had that look in his eye once he touched the puck that something good was going to happen.”

“Real happy for him,” Trotz continued. “I know the guys are thrilled for him. Obviously, a little history. I said to him in Montreal, I said that, 'It was really, really sort of cool that you got the Maurice Richard, tied the record in Montreal, but I think it's only fitting that you get the 1,000th point here for our fans.' So, he did it, and it didn't take much time.”

It was also appropriate that Ovechkin achieved the milestone as the Capitals’ collective game—as well as his own—are on the ascent.

Washington has won a season-high seven games in a row and eight of their last 10 (8-1-1). Ovechkin, meanwhile, netted goals No. 20 and 21 and is now tied for third with Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews. Going back 15 games, the 31-year-old sniper has nine goals and seven assists in that span.

Even on a night that was all about him, Ovechkin preferred to talk about the roll his team finds itself on.

“I think you can see how we play 5-on-5, obviously penalty kill do an unbelievable job and [Braden Holtby is] unstoppable right now,” he said. “He reminds me how he played last year.”

As for the winning streak, Ovechkin acknowledged that it’s nice. But he quickly pointed out this season is all about timing.

“We’re winning,” he said, “but I hope the best hockey’s going to be a little bit later.”

MORE CAPITALS: Putting Ovechkin's 1,000th point in perspective

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NHL Playoffs 2019 Roundup: Blues eliminate Jets, Stars and Capitals pull ahead 3-2

NHL Playoffs 2019 Roundup: Blues eliminate Jets, Stars and Capitals pull ahead 3-2

Friday saw the Toronto Maple Leafs pull ahead 3-2 and the Colorado Avalanche eliminate the favored Calgary Flames. Saturday provided another elimination game and two teams pulled ahead 3-2 in their series.

Here are the results from Saturday.

St. Louis Blues eliminate Winnipeg Jets with 3-2 win

The Blues return to the second round of the playoffs after they were eliminated in the first round last season.

The Blues rally started 23 seconds into the game, when Jaden Schwartz put home a Brayden Schenn rebound.

Schwartz followed with two more goals, completing the hat trick. It's the second natural hat trick in a playoff series clinching game since Geoff Courtnall in 1992.

The Blues await the winner of the Nashville-Dallas series.

Dallas Stars pull ahead of Nashville Predators in 5-3 victory

The Stars were able to steal one from the Predators at Bridgestone Arena thanks to Jason Dickinson and Alexander Radulov's two goal performances.

Tyler Seguin added a goal of his own to pull the Stars ahead 4-2 at the end of the second period, and Ben Bishop recorded 30 saves.

The Stars have a chance to close the series at home Monday night.

Washington Capitals take upperhand on Carolina Hurricanes with 6-0 shutout

After dropping Game 4 in Carolina 2-1, the Caps exploded for six goals against the Hurricanes in a 6-0 win.

Nicklas Backstrom scored the opening two goals. He leads the Capitals in playoff goals with five and had a four point night.

The Caps also got production from their bottom six with Brett Connolly's goal and Nic Dowd's converted penalty shot. It's the first penalty shot a Caps player has successfully made in the playoffs.

Braden Holtby's shutout gave him seven in the playoffs, surpassing Olaf Kolzig's six for the franchise lead. The Caps have a chance to win the series in Carolina Monday night.


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Todd Reirden on TJ Oshie's surgery: 'It's a tough situation for our team'

Todd Reirden on TJ Oshie's surgery: 'It's a tough situation for our team'

ARLINGTON — Capitals forward T.J. Oshie had a surgical procedure Friday to repair a broken right collarbone and remains out indefinitely.  

Oshie was not at Capital One Arena for Washington’s 6-0 win in Game 5 of its Stanley Cup playoffs first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes. He was injured with five minutes to go in Thursday’s Game 4 loss in Raleigh when nudged from behind by Hurricanes forward Warren Foegele and slamming hard into the boards near full speed. 

“There's not one person who can take T.J. Oshie's spot for all that he is as a human being, player on the ice, off the ice all the stuff that he adds,” Capitals coach Todd Reirden said at his media availability on Sunday afternoon. “But what I did notice is that everybody picked their level up last night. And that's what we're going to need going into Raleigh for [Monday]."

That’s when Washington, ahead 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, can eliminate Carolina in Game 6. It’s something it has done successfully on the road in recent years in Philadelphia (2016), Toronto (2017), Pittsburgh and Columbus (2018). All series the Capitals were up 3-2. In all four they won Game 6. 

But they won’t have Oshie this time and he is the emotional engine that has helped fuel some of those series-ending performances. There is still no exact timetable for Oshie’s return. The Capitals have avoided ruling him out for the season and Reirden artfully dodged a question about whether he’d be ready for training camp. 

A broken collarbone usually doesn’t take longer than two months to heal barring complications. But that’s almost certainly going to be after the playoffs ends even if the Capitals make a repeat run to the Stanley Cup Final. Last year they won it on June 7 in five games against the Vegas Golden Knights. 

“I do know that T.J. Oshie is going to do everything he can, and we're not willing to put a timetable on it right now with regard to any time,” Reirden said. “Just lots of these things take a different course in terms of how they rehab and don't rehab. I just know that I can tell you about T.J., he's all-in at all times, and that's a great person to have around our room at the very least." 

Oshie had 25 goals and 29 assists in 65 regular-season games. He missed 11 of 13 games with a concussion. He had eight goals and 13 assists in the Stanley Cup playoffs last season. He also plays the “bumper” role on the top power-play unit and kills penalties.

Oshie tweeted thanks to fans both before and after Washington’s 6-0 win on Saturday. In the third period, periodic “T.J. Oshie!” chants rang from the sellout crowd at Capital One Arena. 

“It was nice to see the crowd give [Oshie] a little love,” center Nicklas Backstrom said on Saturday.  

Added Reirden: “That's obviously a tough loss for us, but we're prepared to go without him as we saw last night. It's a tough situation for our team, but I certainly liked our response last night and was proud of our effort in terms of how we played and how we were playing with him in the back of our mind."