Sometimes a team needs its star players to be at their best. With the Caps trailing in the third period on Tuesday, that's what the Caps needed on Tuesday and Alex Ovechkin responded.
With the Caps down 2-1 entering the third, Ovechkin emphatically took over the game. Early in the period as Detroit tried to break out of their own zone, Ovechkin flattened the unsuspecting Dylan Larkin, forcing him to lose the puck in the neutral zone. The Caps took over and Ovechkin nearly scored on the ensuing possession.
"I noticed it from the drop of the puck that he was skating, he was hitting, he was shooting the puck and when you've got your leader playing that way, you jump on board," T.J. Oshie said.
The Caps' captain continued to play at a different speed from everyone else later in the third as he zipped his way behind the Red Wings' defense with the puck, forcing former Cap Mike Green to haul him down from behind to prevent the breakaway. Ovechkin argued for a penalty shot, but had to settle for the power play instead.
"He took a puck to the net," Braden Holtby said. "Obviously he's a hard man to stop that way. He's going to draw penalties."
The Caps would not convert, but they would cash in after the Great 8 generated a second penalty, this time a hook from Brendan Smith. On the power play, Marcus Johansson took the puck from behind the red line and tried to whirl around and stuff it past goalie Jimmy Howard. Howard made the initial save, but lost the puck in the ensuing scrum. The puck trickled to Howard's right where a charging Ovechkin was just able to hit it into the net to tie the game at two.
"Obviously he can finish better than anyone in the league," Holtby said.
With the goal, the Caps were able to force overtime and eventually win it 3-2 in a shootout. They are now 7-0 in games following a loss this season.
That would not have been possible without Ovechkin finding that extra gear in the third.
"He was moving his legs, he was using his big body, he got a big hit, drew some penalties," head coach Barry Trotz said. "I mean, he was really good tonight."
Ovechkin drew two penalties, laid out Larkin and scored the game-tying goal all in the final period.
Practically the only think Ovechkin didn't give the Caps in the third was a partridge in a pear tree.
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