I've never quite been much of an Alex Ovechkin fan.
There's no question he's an elite hockey player, and I get that. I appreciate the flashy goals, the wicked snapshot, the gritty play all along the ice. He plays with a reckless abandon that fuels his greatness.
But that reckless abandon is also why I can't stand him.
He just doesn't know when to turn it off, or at least tone it down. We've all seen the hit on Brian Campbell that knocked Campbell out of the playoffs. But that's just on the ice. We've also caught a glimpse of Ovechkin off the ice.
So maybe those can help explain this:
I'll let you all decide whether or not it was on purpose in the comments, but either way it astounds me that Ovie couldn't at least slow down and realize how close he was to that kid. I realize it's a playoff atmosphere, I realize he's pumped up. But seriously? Be aware of your surroundings and try not to scare the poor little guy, much less spray him with ice. Look how the kid starts inching away from the bench afterwards.
Think of the children, Ovie! Think of the children! *sniff*
Anyways, onto tonight's action..
Washington - 6 / Montreal - 3 (Capitals Lead Series 3-1)
I'd say that's quite the dagger from the Capitals. Semyon Varlamov was spectacular in net, especially on the penalty kill. Ovechkin stopped picking on little kids in time to score a timely goal. But I think the real story here is that Carey Price may have just bought himself a ticket out of Montreal this summer. He was incredibly 'eh' in net tonight, and that goal by Jason Chimera shouldn't have gone in. Everyone in that arena could see the pass coming across the crease, except apparently for Price, who couldn't have been slower to slide over and react. I thought that was a very weak goal. And then he tops that by flinging the puck at the celebrating Capitals after they scored the go-ahead-goal. It was a classless act by a player that has been the epitome of frustration for Habs fans after he was once lauded as the future in net. Instead, I wouldn't be surprised if he will either be allowed to walk in free agency or be traded at the draft by Montreal.
Buffalo - 2 / Boston - 3 (Bruins Lead Series 3-1)
At the beginning of this game, I tweeted my slight disappointment in how Ryan Miller had played so far in this series. He proved me wrong tonight. Miller was brilliant, invoking memories of his amazing run with Team USA earlier this year. Miller made 36 saves, and about 28 of those were brilliant. I might be exaggerating there. But still, it's unfortunate such a great performance was reduced to nothing because of a total meltdown in defensive coverage in overtime. You could argue that Ryan Miller was too far out in the crease. It's a tough call. But I'm of the mind that Miroslav Satan just made an excellent deke through horrid coverage around the net by the Buffalo defense. As hard as it is to believe, the Sabres are one loss away from elimination. And you know why? Tomas Vanek. Buffalo spreads the puck around a lot already, but Tomas Vanek is easily their greatest offensive asset. They haven't looked the same since he went out with an injury. Even if he returns for Game 5, it might be too late to salvage the series for Buffalo.
Vancouver - 6 / Los Angeles - 4 (Series Tied 2-2)
To me, this has been the best of the first round series. It's been packed with the most emotion, the most physical play and the best back-and-forth action of any other series. And tonight was no different. The increasingly amazing Drew Doughty started things off with a power play goal in the first. But considering what was coming next, who really cares about the first period? From the second period on, the Kings dominated the physical game along the boards, which continually set up chances in front of Roberto Luongo. And yet the Canucks kept answering. I said in my prediction for this series that Vancouver would ultimately have too many weapons for the Kings to handle. Tonight proved that. Los Angeles scored, Erhoff answered. Los Angeles scored, Pavol Demitra answered. Los Angeles scored, Mikael Samuelsson answered. (Samuelsson, by the way, is making quite a case for a Conn Smythe trophy if Vancouver gets that far.) And when Alexander Frolov got loose on a breakaway midway through the third, Luongo was there to make the big save. Ultimately the Sedins had a hand in the two key goals for Vancouver, setting up a Sami Salo bomb from the point to take a lead in the third, and Daniel feeding Henrik for the game-winning goal. The Kings' fight in this series has been admirable. At the end of the day, Vancouver has more guns than Los Angeles.
But if the scrap at the end of the game is any indication, the Kings won't die without a fight. Stay tuned, this already awesome series is about to get even more heated.