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January 17, 2019
Ovechkin Overpowers Habs
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
But in case you're wondering, you really can't tell whether Ovechkin just scored his fourth goal in overtime or found an old sock in the dryer. The reactions are pretty much the same. He's an excitable boy. He actually didn't do his trademark leap into the glass, opting instead to make a mad dash to celebrate with his teammates. He then rushed home to have sex with supermodels on large piles of money. And I realize he doesn't need the cash, but Ovechkin is a Windex ad waiting to happen. He spends more time pressed against glass than Darren Pang outside Wayne Gretzky's bedroom window.
It was Ovechkin's second four-goal game of the season, with the first coming December 29 in Ottawa. He now leads the league with 43 goals in 52 games, giving him a commanding 11-goal lead over Daniel Alfredsson and Jarome Iginla in the Richard Trophy race. Ilya Kovalchuk is actually second with 38 goals, but it might be a while before he scores another one. More on that later. But Ovechkin's five-point effort against the Habs gives him a league-leading 70 points, which is two more than Alfredsson and Vincent Lecavalier. With Kid Crosby out of the scoring race, anything's possible, but I'd still give the nod to Vinny in the Art Ross hunt.
Ovechkin is making that contract extension look pretty shrewd. Since signing the massive 13-year, $124-million pact on January 12, the Russian sniper has scored goals in seven of nine contests, collecting 11 goals and 18 points during the nine-game span.
The destruction of Montreal was vintage Ovechkin. He was all over the ice, displaying his power and speed on every shift. His goals ran the gamut of awesomeness, scoring with a wicked one-timer from the left circle, a roof shot in tight, a laser rocket wrister from the slot on the rush, and a nifty tap from the lip of the crease. And when he wasn't lighting the lamp, Ovechkin was lighting up Habs, blasting Francois Bouillon and Steve Begin with thunderous checks.
Ovechkin has single-handedly carried the Caps back into the playoff picture. The Hart Trophy is his to lose.
The Canucks tried to intimidate the Bolts early on, but Vinny wasn't having any of it. Inspired by their captain, the Lightning answered the Canucks hit for hit and scratched out their sixth win of the month.
In a marquee matchup of stud superstars, Vinny had a breakaway against Roberto Luongo early in the second period. The play started with Brad Richards blocking a Mike Weaver shot inside the Bolts stripe and freeing Vinny with a sweet lead pass through center. Lecavalier was in alone from the blue line. He gave Luongo a slight head fake but got stuffed five-hole.
Undaunted, Lecavalier kept up the pressure and potted his 31st of the season later in the frame. Richards got a stick on an Alex Edler pass just outside the Vancouver blue line, allowing Martin St. Louis to pounce on the turnover. The speedy little winger motored down the left wing and floated a prayer into the slot for Lecavalier. Vancouver had three guys back, but Burrows knocked the puck out of the air and right to Lecavalier, who adjusted beautifully to the lucky bounce and pushed a shot behind a befuddled Luongo.
Aside from Lecavalier's continued greatness, the other big news out of the game was the resurgence of Richards. The former Conn Smythe winner had a goal and two assists, scoring on a real wizard half-slapper off the rush. He just ripped it short-side past Luongo. Richards is starting to heat up. After going 12 straight without a goal, he now has five in eight and three in his last four.
For what it's worth, Richards skated with Lecavalier and St. Louis all night. While lines rarely stay together long in today's NHL, John Tortorella made the switch in the second period of Tampa's loss to Buffalo on January 29. Up to that point, Vinnie Prospal was a fixture with Lecavalier and St. Louis, so maybe Richards will get a lengthy run of his own.
Prospal had one goal, three assists, and a minus-11 in his previous eight contests, prompting the switch. Against Vancouver, he skated for the most part on a line with Jan Hlavac and Michel Ouellet, although he did score a goal on the power play from Richards and St. Louis.
While Ruutu is heavy with past sins, he didn't do anything wrong this time. Kovalchuk had the puck and was standing with his back against the boards. Ruutu was just trying to finish his check when Kovalchuk ducked out of the way. In doing so, good ol' Ilya exposed his knee. Nothing Ruutu could do about it.
That being said, Steve McCarthy deserves high praise for dishing out vigilante justice to Ruutu. McCarthy cracked down on him like the red menace. Clean hit or not, you can't let guys run your star players. Well done, sir.
Armstrong is a natural in front of the camera. He reminds me of a young Keanu Reeves without the charisma. I hear in his next part, he's going to play a block of wood. It's just too bad he's been out of the lineup this week with termites. Compared to Armstrong, Gonchar's freakin' Daniel Day-Lewis.
Talbot's either hopped up on prescription drugs or his underwear's too tight. Tough call. He's incredibly creepy. But his performance is great if, you know, he was playing the part of a venereal disease.
Not surprisingly, Malkin doesn't talk in the spot, yet he still somehow manages to overact. But why am I even wasting time writing about it? See for yourself. Oh, and the clip takes about eight seconds to roll, so don't panic. It's worth the wait.