December 7, 2011
Dirty Ovechkin leads Caps over Sens
By AEDAN HELMER, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - It was dirty. Cheap. Certainly worthy of a penalty.
But when Alex Ovechkin clearly jabbed Senators winger Chris Neil in the stomach (or wherever the stick landed) Wednesday night, it was Neil who got the penalty.
And, after the Capitals had skated to a 5-3 win, with Ovechkin leading the way, the Capitals superstar said something to the effect of: “I’m not the kind of player who would spear somebody.”
Yeah, right. Ovie. Check out the video. You got hit. You got mad. And you clearly speared.
Senators coach Paul MacLean said there was plenty of intent with Ovechkin’s stomach jab.
“It was a deliberate attempt to injure. That might be a little harsh, but Neil got him with a good clean check and as they came up the ice, Ovechkin speared him right in the stomach,” said MacLean. “Obviously, Ovechkin didn’t like the hit and he showed his displeasure by spearing him. It’s a pretty dangerous play.
“My expectation would be the league would at least look at it.”
Neil was plenty more forgiving.
“Obviously (the referees’) eyes weren’t on that play,” said Neil. “I don’t see (Ovechkin) as that type of player and we played each other hard the rest of the night.”
Ref Dean Morton apparently took offence to Neil hitting the ice after the spear, bringing down a chorus of boos that continued whenever Ovechkin touched the puck.Capitals coach Dale Hunter shrugged it off.
“I didn’t really see it. It was behind the play so I didn’t see whatever was going on. But it was two minutes (on the power play) no matter what.”
The Capitals scored two goals in 15 seconds — from Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer — to break a third-period deadlock, and withstood a furious Senators comeback attempt, including Milan Michalek’s team-leading 17th goal, in the game’s final minutes. John Carlson scored an empty-netter with 46 seconds left to seal the win.
The Senators survived an early scare, when the Caps were handed a lengthy two-man advantage with both Craig Anderson (tripping) and Sergei Gonchar (interference) called for penalties on the same sequence and trying to slow down the same attacking player.
“We did a good job to get the lead and then bang-bang (with two quick goals),” said Senators centre Jason Spezza. “We scrambled at the end, almost tied it up, but too little too late.
“As exciting as it is to come back and beat teams, it’s equally frustrating to give up leads once you get them.”
“You want to play with the lead and you want to keep it,” said Anderson. “It’s frustrating, but at the same time you’ve got to learn from it.”