Watch: Alex Ovechkin with epic celebration after go-ahead goal

Alex Ovechkin was feeling it after pouring in the go-ahead goal Monday night as his Washington Capitals attempted to close out their series against Carolina.

Ovechkin made a brilliant shot before going absolutely wild with an epic celebration in front of the road crowd.

This was Ovechkin’s fourth goal of the playoffs so far. He’s on fire right now, just like his celebration game.

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By Jesse Reed

Watch: Alex Ovechkin knocks out Andrei Svechnikov in fight

Alex Ovechkin wasn’t looking to get into a fight during Game 3 of the Carolina Hurricanes-Washington Capitals first round playoff series on Monday night, but once he engaged, he looked to end it quickly.

Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov kept dogging Ovechkin, trying to bait him into a fight during the first period. Ovechkin seemed to be declining at first but then dropped gloves.

He took a shot or two and then unloaded two big right hands to drop Svechnikov:

If the sight of Ovechkin fighting seemed odd to you, it should. That was only his fourth career fight, according to His record is now 1-3 with this one knockout.

By: Larry Brown

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Ovi Ties Gretzky In OT

Written by Brian Tinsman at

When the Washington Capitals jumped out to a 3-0 lead at home against the Winnipeg Jets, it looked like the team might cruise to victory.

But midway through the third period, the tides had turned dramatically, and the Caps had to work to preserve a 3-3 tie at the end of regulation. That brought about the team’s second overtime experience of the season, and the first since losing a shootout to the Penguins in the season opener.

There would be no shootout on Thursday night, however, as Caps captain Alexander Ovechkin launched a ferocious one-timer that ended the game on a powerplay:

It was Ovi’s second goal of the game, joined by teammates Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie.

More importantly, Ovechkin’s 91st game-winning goal moved him into a tie with Wayne Gretzky and Mark Recchi for the 16th most in NHL history. Each goal will move him further up the charts, as he pursues Jaromír Jágr (133) for the most all-time.

Among active players, Ovi ranks fourth for game-winning goals, trailing only Jagr, Jarome Iginla and Patrick Marleau.

It is yet another outstanding accomplishment for Ovechkin and on that probably holds special meaning, considering his relationship with Gretzky.

In October, Gretzky revealed during an interview that he had mentored the Russian superstar, who reached out after yet another playoff disappointment last season. The two went to dinner and Ovi picked his brain.

“Everything that I think I asked Gordie [Howe], Alex [Ovechkin] asked me that night,” Gretzky said. “I found it so refreshing that he has such a love and a passion for the game and the National Hockey League and wanting to win a Stanley Cup.

“I really enjoyed myself spending the time with him. Just a really good young man who loves to play and has done great things for the league. He’s been wonderful for Washington and I hope he gets his wish one day.

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Washington Capitals Clinch the Presidents Cup

Written by Scott Allen at

The Capitals clinched the Presidents’ Trophy — awarded to the team with the most points during the NHL’s regular season — for only the second time in franchise history on Monday with a 4-1 win over Columbus. It’s the earliest a team has clinched home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs in 14 years.

Don’t expect much of a celebration; Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom sounded like someone who would much rather win a trip to the dentist than the Presidents’ Trophy when asked about the honor at Monday’s morning skate.

“It’s good to have home-ice advantage through the playoffs, but at the same time, it doesn’t even mean anything because we lost last time in the first round when we won the Presidents’ Trophy,” Backstrom said. “For me, it’s just a matter of getting to the playoffs. The teams, one through eight, can beat anyone.”

Backstrom and several of his teammates know that all too well. The only other time the Capitals finished with the NHL’s best record — in 2009-10 — they indeed lost in the first round of the playoffs, to the No. 8 seed Montreal Canadiens. The Capitals didn’t exactly speak glowingly of winning the Presidents’ Trophy that year, either. “That would be something new for this organization and for our guys,” Alex Ovechkin said before a San Jose loss clinched the league’s best record for Washington in early April. “But it’s not a big deal. We want to win the big trophy.”

There’s no correlation between winning the Presidents’ Trophy and the “big trophy.” Only two of the last 12 and six of the last 25 Presidents’ Trophy winners have won the Stanley Cup. The 2009-10 Capitals were one of four Presidents’ Trophy winners in the last 10 years to lose in the conference quarterfinals.

Still, winning the Presidents’ Trophy is an impressive accomplishment and clinching it with seven games remaining in the regular season is a testament to the Capitals’ historic dominance this year. Washington clinched in its 75th game; that’s the fewest games needed to clinch in a full 82-game regular season since the 2001-02 Red Wings did it after their 74th game. That Detroit team went on to win the Stanley Cup.

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NHL Power Rankings 2/24

Written by Chris Peters at

With under a week to go before the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 29, the pressure is on general managers across the league. Whether buying or selling, this is the time of year that can prove costly in more ways than one.

Teams gearing up for the playoffs should have a good idea of the teams in front of them that can be used as measuring sticks. The Washington Capitals are clearly the best team in the league right now and the kind that no one is going to match up well against in a playoff series. They have the depth at pretty much every position, scoring and goaltending. One or two players added at the deadline aren’t going to make most teams significantly better.

Because of what is believed to be available at the deadline presently, there’s not a lot of perfect fit scenarios where one player is going to push a team over the top. There doesn’t appear to be a Jeff Carter or Marian Gaborik-type out there that’s going to be that missing piece to the puzzle like those two were in separate Stanley Cup runs for the Los Angeles Kings.

There may be some Antoine Vermettes out there, though. Vermette was added by the Chicago Blackhawks last year to help bring some depth to the center position. They didn’t need to find a missing piece, they just needed a little extra support. Chicago still overpaid for him, sending a first-round pick and promising defensive prospect Klas Dahlbeck to Arizona for a few months of service before Vermette re-signed with the Coyotes. However, the Blackhawks did hoist that shiny trophy at the end of the playoffs and Vermette did have a hand in helping them get there with some key goals. They can view the cost as worth it.

Andrew Ladd of the Winnipeg Jets appears to be the cream of the crop of what looks like a relatively low-impact group of players available. Unless another team comes out and deals a star player unexpectedly, Ladd is probably the guy that most likely helps a team get better for a playoff run even if he doesn’t become a high-impact addition.

Others like Jiri Hudler of the Calgary Flames, Mikkel Boedker of the Arizona Coyotes, P.A. Parenteau of the Maple Leafs and Lee Stempniak of the New Jersey Devils are among those that could fill some holes at forward. They’re not big names, but they’ll fill a role and if they’re the right fit for the team that acquires them, can even outperform expectations.

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Ovechkin Reaches 30 Goals Again as Capitals Beat Flyers

Written by Stephen Whyno at

Alex Ovechkin became the third player in NHL history to reach 30 goals in his first 11 seasons, and Braden Holtby made 33 saves as the Washington Capitals beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in their traditional Super Bowl Sunday matchup.

Ovechkin joined Wayne Gretzky and Mike Gartner in the record books and moved within two goals of Chicago’s Patrick Kane for the league lead. Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen also scored for Washington.

Holtby was stellar in net, especially on the penalty kill, as he improved to 3-0-0 in the second half of back-to-back starts this season. It didn’t matter that Washington went 0 for 2 on the power play to extend its season-worst drought to 0 for 17.

Michael Del Zotto and Nick Schultz scored for Philadelphia.

Holtby and Mason were sharp despite both playing Saturday afternoon. Mason stopped 27 of the 30 shots he faced as Philadelphia missed a major opportunity to pick up points in a competitive Eastern Conference playoff race.

Washington won its third straight to become the first NHL team to 80 points.

Holtby made a flurry of saves early with Karl Alzner in the box serving two different penalties. He didn’t look the slightest bit tired after winning in a shootout Saturday at New Jersey and couldn’t be blamed for Del Zotto’s goal at 18:21 in that went in off Niskanen’s skate.

Two memorable saves on the Flyers’ Nick Cousins drew chants of “Holtby, Holtby” from the crowd for the goaltender who’s on pace to break Martin Brodeur’s season wins record. This was Holtby’s 33rd in his 42nd game.

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Midseason Awards For the NHL

Written by Mathew McCormack at The Sports

The NHL has reached its midseason All-Star break, giving players, coaches, and fans some time to catch their breath and assess the state of the league at the halfway point. There have been some feel good stories (who thought the ageless Jaromir Jagr and the Florida Panthers would be this good?) and some…well, not so surprising developments (those pesky squads from Chicago and Los Angeles find themselves atop the Western Conference, again).

This season has so far provided many exciting individual performances. From theJamie Benn and Tyler Seguin show out in Dallas to Alex Ovechkin’s 500th goal and continual dominance in Washington, there has been no shortage of excitement and individual excellence.

Let’s take a look at some of this season’s very best performances through the first half.

Hart: Patrick Kane

Despite some of the very impressive numbers that players have put up this season, Patrick Kane’s play stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Before the season even started, Kane found himself in the midst of a rape investigation. Despite his off-the-ice indiscretions, however, Kane’s stellar season has demonstrated that he thrives on controversy.

Kane has managed to almost single-handedly propel the Blackhawks to the top spot in the Western Conference. His 30 goals have already tied a career high, while his 73 overall points are only 15 away from another career high.

His 26-game point streak was the longest ever for an American hockey player and included many highlight reel goals such as the one above.

Kane also has the chance to make even more history. He currently leads the entire league in both goals and assists (47). If he can stay in the lead in both of these categories, he will only be the seventh player in NHL history to lead the league to do so in the same season, and the first since Mario Lemieux during the 1995-‘96 season.

This feat would just be icing on the cake for one of the greatest offensive seasons in recent memory.

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Ovechkin, Toews Suspended for Missing All-Star Game

Written by Adam Gretz at

Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin and Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews are two of the biggest stars in the NHL and were selected to play in the 2016 All-Star game in Nashville this weekend.

Both players have decided to opt out of the game (Ovechkin to injury; Toews to illness) and as a result will have to miss their team’s first game back after the All-Star break.

The league not only announced on Thursday they will be replaced on the roster by Evgeny Kuznetsov and James Neal, but that Ovechkin and Toews have also been suspended for one game for missing the All-Star game.

Per league rules, any player that is voted into the game or named to the roster and does not play in the game for any reason receives a mandatory one-game suspension that must be served their team’s game immediately preceding or following the All-Star game.

Ovechkin will miss the Capitals’ Feb. 2 game against the Florida Panthers, while Toews will miss the Blackhawks’ game against the Colorado Avalanche the same night.

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