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Alex Ovechkin Makes Opening Statement with Hat Trick

 

Coming off a disappointing individual season a season ago, Alex Ovechkin opened the 2017-18 season with a bang. The Washington Capitals captain dug his team out of a 3-1 hole in the third period to score three goals in a span of six minutes and 33 seconds span to force overtime. After five scoreless-overtime minutes, the Capitals edged the Ottawa Senators in a shootout with goals from Ovechkin and Evengy Kuznetsov.

Washington was flat for much of the game’s first 44 minutes, falling behind by two early. Then the Ovechkin Show began.

His first goal came at the 4:15 mark in the third period as Kuznetsov found him from the right circle for a one-timer.

His second occurred one minute and 23 seconds later. The Capitals controlled the puck in the zone. Jakub Vrana charged the net before finding Kuznetsov on the left of the net. Kuznetsov then tapped a dime to Ovechkin, who deposited it in the net to tie the game at 3-3.

After a Mark Stone goal put Ottawa back in front 4-3, Ovechkin responded one more time for his team in regulation when he broke away from a scrum, sniping the puck past Senators’ goalie Craig Anderson to tie the game 10:48 into the frame and completing season-opening hat trick. He also moved his career goal tally to 561, tying Mike Modano for 24th all-time in NHL history.

Kuznetsov assisted on all three of Ovechkin goals. The duo wasn’t done either. In the shootout round, both scored goals with Kuznetsov capping the win with the walk-off score.

Ovechkin’s thunderous start to season comes on the heels of a 2016-17 season in which he scored 33 goals, his lowest full season goal tally since 2010-11, breaking a three-season 50-goal streak. Prior to Thursday’s opener, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz talked about keeping Ovechkin’s goal count bar at 50. Safe to say, the Great 8 got off to a good start towards the goal.

This start will dispel the notion that Ovechkin is slowing down or that he is near the end of the rope. Last season ended in a great deal of disappointment when the Capitals fell to Pittsburgh in seven games in the Eastern Conference second round for the second straight year and third time during the Ovechkin era. While all was not good, especially giving up four goals, Ovechkin and the Capitals made a statement of resolve and determination that hopefully will carry them a long way towards their goal of a Stanley Cup title.

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