He makes you throw up your hands, sometimes, because he can do things on the ice that no human being ought to be able to do. Discrete things, perfectly digestible and unbelievable highlights—Alex Ovechkin is no all-around marvel in the vein of a Sidney Crosby, nor should he be asked to be or compared to such—but god damn, the man can shoot a puck.
Ovechkin was the best player on the ice throughout the Capitals’ 2-1 win over the Rangers, right up to his nifty feed on the winner with seconds remaining. But it became clear early on, from his precision-guided rocket of a wrister from the top of the circle, through Dan Boyle and past Henrik Lundqvist, that it was going to be one of those Ovi games.
Really, what can anyone do in the face of that? Boyle was right on him. The puck was whistling in on net before Lundqvist knew it had been shot. The puck was clocked at 80 MPH, an incredible speed for a wrister coming in the run of play. It sought, and found, the near high corner, the most awkward spot for an unsuspecting goalie. That combination of strength, accuracy, and efficiency of movement is deadly.
“I don’t see too many goalies stopping that, to be honest,” Joel Ward said. “If you give us all 100 pucks, nobody’s gonna hit that spot. That’s ‘O,’ that’s what he’s been doing. ... What a beast he is. What a shot.”
And then, as Ovechkin skated past the net, before the murmurs of a crowd as stunned as the Rangers themselves, he had a little something to say to Lundqvist.
This is the NHL’s leading goalscorer scoring unfathomable goals in the playoffs, and chirping a world-class goaltender, threatening that he’s going to keep it up. What more could you want?