Alex Ovechkin

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I'm not going to say the Devils stole this one, because they played well enough to win, but boy, the Caps' penalty problems certainly got them going in the third. With a noon start coming Saturday, this was a big win for the Devils and they could ice what's left of the Caps' season with a sweep of this two-game series. Some thoughts...

Dueling Russians: Alex Ovechkin came out firing on all cylinders in the first two periods, playing with the jump and speed that he used to display on a regular basis. There was the ridiculous undressing of Bryce Salvador and the spin move that left Henrik Tallinder useless and finally an end-to-end rush that he shot wide. It was vintage Ovechkin for 40 minutes and although he didn't score, it appeared only a matter of time before Ovi buried one. But then all of a sudden to star the third, Ilya Kovalchuk seemed liked a different player. Perhaps energized by Ovi's sudden resurgence or pissed off by his team's poor effort in the second period, Kovy was all over the ice in the third. Even before he scored the game-winning goal on a picture-perfect one-time setup from Patrik Elias, Kovy was rushing Caps goalie Braden Holtby and drawing penalties with strong work along the boards. It was always like Kovy realized there was nothing else going for the Devils tonight and took it upon himself to be the best player on the ice for the final 20 minutes. Of course, it helped that he basically played the entire period because of how much time the Devils spent on the power play during the third. Still, on nights like tonight, we're reminded that the Devils have something that only a handful of other teams have: a player that is the most skilled player 95 percent of the time he's on the ice. I mean, really, how many other players could've taken the shot that he scored the game winner on? Just fantastic.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Adam Larsson, Alex Ovechkin, Andrei Loktionov, Capitals, Caps, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, HENRIK TALLINDER, Ilya Kovalchuk, Krys Barch, MARK FAYNE, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Peter Harrold, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Washington Capitals
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