-- That Alex Ovechkin
is doing his job of putting pucks in the net is actually only a bonus to the Washington Capitals
Sounds amazing, we know, but it's true and Ovechkin loves it.
Ovechkin, the NHL's back-to-back Rocket Richard Trophy winner, scored for the third time in as many games Sunday, but it was the fifth goal of the day for the Caps in a 5-3 victory. Three of the first four came from Washington defensemen.
Of the 15 total points the Capitals combined for in Game 6 -- 5 goals and 10 assists -- Ovechkin had just the one, proving that secondary scoring is not only taking some pressure off No. 8, but allowing the Caps to play a more complete game.
"Sometimes when the best players on the team can't score goals somebody has to step it up and score goals," Ovechkin said. "They do an unbelievable job. They play hard, they score goals, they bring energy and we play well."
In Game 6, defenseman Tom Poti
had his first four-point game since 2004, when he played for the Rangers. Milan Jurcina
and Mike Green
scored their first goals of the series. David Steckel
had two assists and fellow bottom-six forwards Boyd Gordon
and Brooks Laich
each had one assist.
The top six were represented by goals from Ovechkin and Viktor Kozlov
, as well as assists from Nicklas Backstrom
, Sergei Fedorov
and Alexander Semin
"We had three defensive goals and we have to have those guys scoring," Backstrom said. "It helps us a lot. It gives other guys on the bench energy. It's good."
The secondary scoring Sunday was just a continuation from Game 5 Friday when Matt Bradley
scored the first two goals of the game, the first two playoff goals of his career. Bradley scored only five goals during the season.
"We have to get scoring from everyone in the playoffs," Poti said. "You can't just have your big guys scoring night in and night out. You have to get your grinders and your role players scoring goals, too. We have been doing that."
Green told NHL.com that when it's not just guys like Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom and, of course, himself, scoring goals, it can take a toll mentally on the opposition.
"It's just a matter of playing smart with your line," Green said. "Obviously the Alexes (Ovechkin and Semin) can get some goals because they have great shots, but when you have other guys scoring, that's definitely going to take a toll on their mental side."
Ovechkin believes the key for the Caps in the past two games has been scoring the first goal of the game. The team that has done that has won the last five games of this series.
"When they score the first goal, they just go back and try to play defensively," Ovechkin said. "So when we have the opportunity to score the first goal, they open up the space and when they open we have more chances to score."
Now that the Caps have forced a Game 7 for the second-straight season, Ovechkin obviously can't wait to get home. The Caps took the Garden crowd out of Sunday's game by going up 3-1 after the first period and 5-1 after the second. If they come out with the same effort Tuesday at Verizon Center, the fans there may blow the roof off the joint.
"The atmosphere is going to be unbelievable," Ovechkin said. "They're going to push us the whole time. Right now we have to forget this game. It's done. We're bouncing back.”
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