PITTSBURGH - Alex Ovechkin blasted such a hard shot into the top corner of the net that Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau couldn't see the puck go in even after watching the replay.
What chance, Boudreau wondered, did Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury have?
“That’s what he does,” Boudreau said in amazement after Ovechkin’s goal, combined with Michal Neuvirth’s 39 saves, were the difference in Washington’s 1-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night.
It was nothing, said Ovechkin, referring to his goal which came on the power-play with 3 minutes, 22 seconds remaining in the second period.
“I had lots of time to see what’s going on, and I just fired it,” said Ovechkin, the No. 1 overall pick in 2004 and the Hart Trophy winner (league MVP) in 2008 and 2009. “We beat a good team in a hard building to play. We got these points, just enjoy our day off.”
That day off, following a five-game road trip in which the Capitals went 3-2, wound up getting delayed. A snowstorm that struck Pittsburgh hours before the game began forced the Capitals to spend the night.
They’ll return home today, knowing they continued their domination of the Penguins, completing their season series with a 3-0-1 edge, and improving to 10-0-2 against Pittsburgh since March 2008.
The teams’ rivalry received national attention because they were the focus of a four-part HBO series earlier this season.
The win put the Capitals one point behind Southeast Division-leading Tampa Bay and three points behind the fourth-place Penguins in the Eastern Conference standings.