Three points of Ovechkin and Radulov's double: how the Russians helped “Washington” and “Dallas” to advance in the playoff series
Russian legionnaires of the NHL teams have become one of the main characters of the next game day of the Stanley Cup. Forward "Washington" Alexander Ovechkin recorded at his own expense a goal and two assists and brought his team forward in the playoff series with the "Caroline". Dallas forward Alexander Radulov scored twice in the fifth meeting with Nashville and was recognized as the third star of the day.
Defeat from the "Washington"
After two unsuccessful matches on the road, “Washington Capitals” was in a quandary. The current owners of the Stanley Cup lost the advantage gained in the two starting meetings and no longer had the right to make mistakes. Otherwise, they risked forming the company Tampa Bay Lightning and Calgary Flames, who sensationally left the Stanley Cup. However, at the key moment, Alexander Ovechkin and the company were able to demonstrate the highest level of hockey, and the captain of the “capital” became one of the main characters.
During his career, Ovechkin became famous primarily for his ability to send the puck into the goal. This made him one of the greatest snipers in the history of the NHL, but his organizational skills were often criticized. Sometimes it was deserved, because Alexander really emphasized the goals and at the decisive moments preferred to quit himself rather than help the partner to distinguish himself. But in the fifth game of the series with “Caroline”, he once again proved that he is able to act superbly in an underdog.
The captain of the "capital" marked his first effective action in the middle of the meeting. By this time, the hosts were already scoring, thanks to an accurate shot by forward Niklas Bekström, and in the 15th minute of the second period Ovechkin helped the Swede to issue his second double in the current Stanley Cup. Alexander broke to the right and performed a cutting diagonal transfer to his partner. Tom had only to send the puck past goalkeeper Hurricanes Peter Mrazek.
And after only 110 seconds, Ovechkin again acted as an assistant and practically deprived Carolina of the chances of winning. Backström threw the puck out of his zone, and the guests lost their vigilance, believing that the referee was going to appoint a pass. This took advantage of Alexander, who overtook one of the leaders of the defense of the enemy, Dag Hamilton, and performed a program on Bret Connolly who rolled onto the gate. One touch was enough for a Canadian to make the bill large.
“Undoubtedly, Ovechkin is an amazing player, I just had to be open. He may be the best sniper of the new era. But his ability to give the transfer is greatly underestimated, "- said the press service of the NHL, Connolly quotes.
“Capitals” scored with a difference of three goals, but was not going to stop there. In the third match of the series, the “capital” allowed the Hurricanes to throw five unanswered goals and intended to return the favor. At that moment Yevgeny Kuznetsov actively entered the game. In the course of the meeting, the Russian forward had several opportunities to hit the gate of Mrazek, but he showed himself just as an assistant.
In the second minute of the third period, he rolled a pass to a nickle, where Tom Wilson remained undisguised, and when the score was 5-0 he helped his compatriot to distinguish himself. “Washington” has once again demonstrated why it is among the top four in terms of the percentage of the majority implementation in the playoffs. Backstrom won the throw-in, Kuznetsov threw the puck to Ovechkin, and he sent it into the net with a powerful throw.
Such a performance helped Todd Ryrden's wards to come forward in the series with “Caroline”, and several of his players - to be noted for personal achievements. So, Ovechkin scored 124 points in the playoffs and reached the 53rd place in the history of the NHL for this indicator. He walked around such stars as Patrick Kane, Jeremy Roenick, Brian Bellows and Chris Pronger.
In addition, his asset was 64 goals, which allowed him to catch up with Peter Forsberg and beat Evgeni Malkin. Thus, the captain of “Washington” became the best Russian sniper in the history of the NHL playoffs.
The most productive player of the meeting was Niklas Backstrom, who recorded a double and two assists. Thus, he became only the third Capitals player who managed to score four points in the Stanley Cup match. In addition to him, such a bar was reached by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dino Cissarelli.
After the defeat of “Caroline” in the fourth match, Ovechkin rather harshly criticized the game of his partners. In particular, he said that if they do not want to show the hockey level of “Washington”, then they better not go on the ice. After success in the fifth meeting, Backstrom remembered the words of his captain.
“I think it was a good response after two defeats in a row. We were not pleased with our performance in the retreats. I think today we played our hockey. Everything worked out to the fullest, we acted together and it bore fruit, ”said Backstrom.
Due to the incredible performance of teammates, Brayden Holtby's performance remained a bit in the shadow. The goalkeeper of the Capitals issued a shat-out (a match without missing goals), marking 30 saves. The Canadian for the seventh time left his goal intact in the playoffs, which was a new record for the club.
“We were disappointed by the lack of a physical game, even in the first two meetings of the series. We felt that we could not impose our will on our rival and demonstrate our inherent power hockey. We knew that we have something to strive for, ”said Washington’s mentor Todd Rearden.
Double of Radulov and ticket to the second round for Tarasenko
In addition to Ovechkin and Kuznetsov, other Russian hockey players also successfully performed. The third star of the game of the day was named forward Dallas Stars Alexander Radulov. The 32-year-old hockey player scored a double in a guest meeting with Nashville Predators and helped his team get ahead in the series.
Both scoring in the performance of the Russians came in the second period. Already on the 40th second, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin organized a quick attack on the gates of the enemy, and Radulov struck a decisive shot. Alexander freed from custody and closed the transfer at the far post. The puck bounced into the goalkeeper owners Pekku Rinne, and then flew into the net.
After seven minutes, Radulov for the second time lit his surname on the scoreboard. Benn won the fight for the gate and rolled out the transfer to the penny. The Russian forward made a breakthrough and for the third time forced Rinne to capitulate.
In the remainder of the team exchanged two goals, and “Dallas” won a crucial victory on the road. Radulov scored his 12th puck in the playoffs in his career and was recognized as the first star of the meeting.
If “Dallas” still manages to present a sensation and beat “Nashville” in the series, then in the semifinals of the Western Conference we are waiting for the Russian confrontation. Vladimir St. Tarasenko’s follower “St. Louis” had six meetings enough to leave out of hand the semi-finalist of last year’s Stanley Winnipeg Cup.
The Russian himself was unable to score effective actions in the final meeting of the series, and his partner Jayden Schwartz came to the fore. A Canadian designed a hat-trick and helped the Blues get through to the next round. Thus, “St. Louis” for the second time in the last three seasons managed to get into the semifinals of the Western Conference. In the 2016/17 season, they got the upper hand over Minnesota in the quarter finals, and then lost to Nashville.