Ladies and Gentlemen,
The official leading scorer of NHL with 38 goals is Alexander the Great Ovechkin! (Alex also moved into a second place in points). How sweet it is! He can see Kovalchuk and the rest in a rear mirror now.
The Best NHL Rookie is Nicklas Bäckström! He has just set a new NHL rookie record with 4 assists in back to back games.
Kozzie, Bäckis and Ovie rule!
Geno is good, but not as good as Alex the Great. J.P reports that to date, Alex has 129 hits. Malkin has 21.
The era of official domination of Caps over Pens has just started.
From TRIBUNE-REVIEW, Jan. 21, Pens lose shootout, miss point
Alexander Ovechkin has one-upped Evgeni Malkin at almost every turn for the last four years.
And he did it again Monday night.
Ovechkin and Malkin, the first and second players taken in the 2004 NHL draft, respectively, each had two goals and an assist, but it Alexander Semin who decided things when he snapped a wrist shot under the crossbar against goaltender Ty Conklin in the shootout to help the Capitals (28-17-3) to a 6-5 victory over the Penguins at Mellon Arena. The Penguins are now 1-0-1 without Sidney Crosby, who was placed on the injured reserve list before the game.
By Alan Robinson, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Jan. 21, Ovechkin wins duel with Malkin:
PITTSBURGH - Evgeni Malkin couldn't have done a much better imitation of Sidney Crosby. On this night, even that wasn't good enough to outduel Alexander Ovechkin.
Ovechkin finished off an exceptional game by teaming with Alexander Semin to beat Pittsburgh goalie Ty Conklin with backhanders in the shootout and the Washington Capitals came from behind for a 6-5 victory Monday night.
Ovechkin and Malkin had two goals and an assist apiece during a matchup of Russian stars in which each seemed determined to not be upstaged by the other. One good shift would be followed by a better shift by the other, with the two stars figuring in five goals - each scoring twice - in a hectic 12-minute span.
"I thought it was a great show of two young superstars trying to be king of the hill," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Malkin had to be very good in this game merely to stay with Ovechkin, even though the Capitals star insisted he wasn't trying to outdo his friend.
"I just play for the team. It doesn't matter if you're Russian or Canadian," Ovechkin said after the Capitals won their fourth in a row and sixth in seven games to get above .500 at 22-21-5. "It's a game, and I think nobody has friends on the ice."
For all the goals, it was Malkin's hard check of Ovechkin near the end of the first that got the sellout crowd going, chanting his nickname of "Geno, Geno, Geno." Malkin, normally not a physical player, sent Ovechkin flying by lowering his shoulder as Malkin carried the puck behind the Washington net.
"If I didn't hit him, maybe he scored more goals, who knows?" Ovechkin said despite getting the worse of the collision. "I can't hear after the game, 'What are you doing, why didn't you hit him?"'
...Ovechkin, of course, came back less than two minutes after that with his league-best 38th goal, a slap shot from the left circle that led Therrien to pull Sabourin and bring in Conklin.
From Washington Times, Jan. 22, by Corey Masisak:
"It was very important game in our season right now," Ovechkin said. "We got to .500, but we don't want to stop. We want to keep going and everybody understand."
"We really had to win, and it looked for a while like the gods were against us," Boudreau said. "We've got things to work on. We can't continually give up four or five goals and expect to win."
From Ottawa Citizen, by James Duthie, Jan. 22, MALKIN VS. OVECHKIN: MUST-SEE TV:
For four years now, ever since they faced off at the World Juniors in North Dakota, we have been hyping Sidney Crosby vs. Alexander Ovechkin as THE individual rivalry for the next NHL generation.
Maybe we only got it half-right.
Monday night, with Crosby looking on from Mario’s luxury suite, Ovechkin and Evgeny Malkin staged one of the best “tit for tat” showdowns we’ve seen in a long time.
The boxscore will show you they each counted two goals and an assist. Ovechkin moved into the NHL lead with 38 goals, and added one more in the shootout to give Washington a 6-5 win. Malkin added his 14th and 15th goals in 15 games, making him the hottest thing out of Russia since Natalia Vodianova (if you are unfamiliar, I strongly advise the use of Google Images).
From the opening face-off, it looked like a couple of guys trying to show-off to win the same girl (Natalia maybe?) They were ridiculously dangerous on almost every shift. They went after each other, with Ovechkin trying to flatten Malkin in the Danger Zone (ask Dean McAmmond where that is), and then almost scrapping moments later. It was Anything You Can Do…translated in Russian.
I don’t pretend to know the real relationship between the two. They were teammates for Russia at the World Junior Hockey Championship four years ago, and apparently good pals. There were reports of an altercation involving Ovechkin and Malkin’s Russian agent Gennady Ushakov at a nightclub this past summer, which allegedly left Ushakov with a broken jaw. Ovechkin later denied it ever happened. Even if it did, only they’d know what it was about.
It doesn’t matter. Friends or foes, it was clear they desperately wanted to out-do each other Monday night. And the audience was the beneficiary.
Individual rivalries in hockey are often phony creations of the media (I plead guilty). Ovechkin and Crosby were dubbed archrivals before they had even met on the ice, simply because they were two phenoms who arrived at the same time. They have had some decent games against each other, but nothing like this one.
Malkin has been living in Sid’s sizable shadow for his first season-and-a-half in the league. Crosby’s injury has thrust him into the spotlight, and I think he digs it.
By the time you read this, the NHL should have named him an All-Star, replacing Crosby. The only problem is he’ll be playing with Ovechkin.
It’s way more fun the other way.
From Capitals Insider, Jan. 21:
But Ovechkin had some interesting things to say about trying to crush his friend and fellow Russian with shoulder check late in the first period. As it turned out, Ovechkin absorbed the brunt of the collision, and slammed sideways into the boards. The countrymen also exchanged some shoves at the next whistle.
Ovechkin's lip was left bleeding. But he was also smiling after the Caps' come-from-behind 6-5 win. Both had two goals and an assist.
"It's a game," Ovechkin said, shrugging. "It's a big game for us. A big two points. If I didn't hit him behind the net, maybe he scores goal. Then maybe my teammates ask me, 'Why you don't hit him?'
"I don't care if he's Russian or Canadian."
And you thought Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby had a pretty good rivalry going. This one might be just as entertaining.
Ovechkin meets Malkin (Thanks to KK)
What people say (from Capitals Insider):
that hit was sick.
ovie may have taken the brunt of it, but it proved once again what he's all about. have you ever seen a player play with such abandon? i thought for sure he was goin to suffer a concussion. but then he gets right back up, mouth bleeding, ready to fight, and the finishes the game with two goals and a goal in the shootout!
he is the true definition of a phenom.
Posted by: hckycaps | January 22, 2008 01:35 PM