Granted, the NHL is better when Sidney Crosby is healthy. But could there be a better distraction than the goal-scoring contest being waged between Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos?
In Tuesday night’s action, both Southeast Division stars scored again, each upping their season total to 26 goals — easily a 50-plus-goal pace over the course of an 82-gamer. (And to think, back on March 14, Ovechkin trailed Stamkos by 11 goals.)
Stamkos’s marker came from a nice passing play, but Ovie’s was all solo effort.
Watch as the energized Russian dangles right through Michael Ryder’s legs, then shoots a fluttering wrister across his body to beat Montreal’s Carey Price far side.
Ovechkin absolutely abused Michael Ryder to create space for himself to take shot for tying goal. What a move.
“It was almost like a curveball,” centre Nicklas Backstrom told reporters. “Obviously he has a great shot, but right now everything goes in.”
Ovie himself offered this analysis:
“I didn’t see how it goes in. I know it goes up and down. I’ll take it. Why not?” he said. “I just wanted to shoot the puck, I deked Ryder, I know lots of traffic is going to be in front because JoJo (winger Marcus Johansson) fly there. I don’t know, the shot wasn’t that hard, but it goes in, so that’s good.”
Washington’s victory over Montreal Tuesday was the team’s fifth in a row and kept the suddenly surging club ahead of the Winnipeg Jets for tops in the division.
As for the Rocket Richard race, Stamkos (39 GP) does have a game in hand as we head down the stretch run.
Also worth noting, no one in the NHL has fired more rubber on net than ol’ Ovie, who has taken a league-high 178 shots on net, 46 more than Stamkos.