WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin might have a few more goals left in him after all.
Ovechkin didn’t have much go right for him before the break for the 2024 NHL All-Star Weekend, but the Washington Capitals captain has started scoring again, extending his goal streak to five games in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.
And that is always a good thing for the Capitals, who are working with a thin margin of error in their quest to return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after missing last season for the first time since 2014.
“It’s a positive, positive step because we need him,” Capitals coach Spencer Carbery said. “It’s well documented, our production issues. So, for him to get going, and even in the way he’s scoring, I know these aren’t highlight reels and in off skates, but these are positive things, and you can feel him gaining more confidence as each one goes in and as he gets on a little bit of a roll.”
It’s strange to think that a player who is second in NHL history with 835 goals would lose confidence in his ability to put the puck in the net, but that’s the way it looked when Ovechkin scored just eight goals in his first 43 games this season. The 38-year-old endured a 14-game goal drought from Nov. 22-Dec. 20, the longest in his 19 NHL seasons, and another eight-game drought from Jan. 3-24 (with a three-game layoff because of a lower-body injury interspersed from Jan. 13-16).
But getting a goal and an assist in the final two minutes of regulation of a 5-4 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars on Jan. 27 sent Ovechkin into the All-Star break with some positive feelings. And, after getting to enjoy a vacation in Dubai with wife Nastasiya and their two sons, he’s returned from the break with a renewed confidence.
“Yeah, I think the puck goes in, it’s a good thing,” Ovechkin said.
The latest sign that Ovechkin’s fortunes have turned came on his goal that gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead 7:37 into the second period Sunday. After taking a drop pass from Dylan Strome in the left circle, Ovechkin tried to pass to T.J. Oshie driving to the net, but the puck deflected off the right skate of Canucks forward Nils Aman and skipped past Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko.