It’s a lot of fun to play on the same line as Alex Ovechkin

Ryan Kennedy
Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

It’s actually been a couple of weeks now that the Washington Capitals have been dealing with questions about Alex Ovechkin breaking Sergei Fedorov’s record for goals by a Russian-born NHLer (geez, Alex, what took you so long?). Ovie finally did it last night against Dallas, so his teammates are now off the hook.

And to be fair, there’s only so many ways Evgeny Kuznetsov can say that he’s excited for Ovechkin and that the young Russian center had also watched Fedorov when he was growing up. But dutifully, the pivot did it one more time when I was in Washington recently and asked him what it’s like to actually play on a line with Ovechkin.

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Watch Alex Ovechkin score to become leading Russian goal scorer in NHL history

Jared Clinton
Alex Ovechkin (G. Flume/Getty Images)

After four scoreless games and a couple of called-back goals, Alex Ovechkin is officially the highest scoring Russian born player in NHL history.

Ovechkin came into Thursday’s contest against the Dallas Stars stuck at 483 career goals, tied with former teammate Sergei Fedorov for the most all-time by a Russian player in the NHL. In the third period, Ovechkin finally found the goal to give him his piece of history, though. As part of a net front scramble, Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom made a nifty no-look backhand pass that landed right on Ovechkin’s tape for a no-doubter: Read more

Why the Rangers and Capitals are due for a switch in the standings

Henrik Lundqvist (Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

By Malcolm Campbell

Like many hockey fans you are probably thinking the New York Rangers are the team to beat in the Metropolitan Division this year. And after watching Henrik Lundqvist blank the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, it’s hard to believe otherwise. King Henrik has indeed looked like royalty this season, and his backup, Antti Raanta, has put up even better numbers. The problem for both of them is their ridiculously high caliber play is the only thing standing between the Rangers and a drop in the standings.

The story told by advanced statistics is that the Metro division is due for a shakeup. The three teams atop the table right now are separated by four points in a battle of the NHL’s second-most competitive group. The Rangers are riding a six-game winning streak heading into Thursday and have only lost twice in regulation this year. Right behind them are the Washington Capitals, with two more regulation losses than the division leaders, and rounding out the top three are the Pittsburgh Penguins, also four points back. While Pittsburgh doesn’t seem to be on the same level, the season is young, and it seems the Rangers are due for a regression. The only problem for the Penguins though, Washington isn’t.

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Alex Ovechkin took 15 shots last night – but Petr Mrazek saved all of them

Alex Ovechkin (G. Flume/Getty Images)

I was thinking about the highly-anticipated Caps-Wings game last night before it started, about how Detroit would prepare for an evening when Washington captain Alex Ovechkin had the chance to break Sergei Fedorov’s record for most goals by a Russian-born NHLer.

Fedorov, who was just inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, had been asked late last week about the impending milestone and told that he hoped Ovechkin would wait until Tuesday’s game against Detroit to break his record (instead of the previous game vs. Toronto). He even dropped the ceremonial puck last night.

But in my head, I imagined Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill motivating his troops thusly:

“OK boys (that’s how all hockey speeches start), we know Ovechkin is gonna try to get that goal tonight and we know ‘Feds’ is hoping he does it here. But guess what? THAT RECORD DOES NOT GET BROKEN ON OUR ICE. ‘Feds’ wore the Winged Wheel with pride (never mind he also played with Ovechkin on the Caps – motivational speeches always contain poetic license) and No. 8 will just have score that goal some other time, ARE YOU WITH ME?????

I have no idea if this is how Blashill talks behind closed doors, but the fact is his netminder was a brick wall last night:

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Getting To Know: Dennis Hextall

Dennis Hextall (Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Status: Former NHL left winger from 1967-1980 with Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, California Golden Seals, Minnesota North Stars, Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals. Currently coaches hockey in Edwards, Colorado at Battle Mountain HS.

Ht: 5-11 Wt: 175 pounds
DOB: April 17, 1943 In: Poplar Point, M.B. Read more

It’s time to have a little chat about Washington’s John Carlson

Ryan Kennedy
John Carlson  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

Every season, Washington Capitals defensemen John Carlson and Karl Alzner have a friendly little competition: who can score the most even-strength points.

“This year,” Alzner said, “I have absolutely no chance. We may have to tweak the rules a bit.”

Right now, Carlson is up six points to four, but clearly Alzner sees where things are heading. Toss in his six power play points and Carlson is one of the top-scoring D-men in the NHL and if his first-star performance against Boston Thursday night is any indication, the offense is not drying up anytime soon.

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Suspend them or not: Marc Staal, Antoine Roussel and Ryan Reaves

Ryan Reaves and Anze Kopitar.

It seemed no player in any arena in any game Tuesday night was safe from a questionable hit. Alex Ovechkin, Zac Rinaldo and Anze Kopitar all found themselves on the receiving ends.

First, the Washington Capitals’ Ovie took a spear to the groin from New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal:

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