For the third year in a row, Alex Ovechkin won the Breakaway Challenge in the NHL All-Star Skills Challenge last night in Raleigh, NC. In a competition judged by the fans by text voting, each shooter took four breakaway attempts. Ovechkin faced off against goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins. On his winning shot, Ovie used the butt end of his stick to control the puck in over the blue line, then dropped to his knees before flipping the stick around and deking past Fleury to score on the backhand. He won with 39% of the fan votes.
The All-Star Game is today at 4PM. The Caps return to action Tuesday night against the Montreal Canadiens at Verizon Center.
courtesy of ‘pimguy’
Nicklas Backstrom announced he was withdrawing from participating in the NHL YoungStars game during the All-Star Break festivities this weekend in Montreal. “This year I felt like it made more sense for me to give someone else that opportunity and use this time to rest and prepare for the second half of the season with the Washington Capitals,” Backstrom said in a prepared statement. “I can assure Caps fans that I’m not injured.”
Backstrom took part in last year’s game and currently leads the Caps in assists (36) and is second in points (48). He’ll be replaced by David Perron of the St. Louis Blues.
Ovechkin Celebrates by clydeorama
Last Two Weeks: 6-0
Place: First in the Southeast
The Caps roared through the holidays, racking up a six-game win streak and handily beating down the Rangers on Saturday in a defensive slugfest. The 2-1 victory saw the return of Alexander Semin as well as Semin’s first (slap)fight of his NHL career. With the injury bug now behind them, the Caps are in prime position to pull away from the ‘Canes (10 points behind) and cement their playoff position for April.
Ovechkin and company have the best 40-game start in franchise history, another feather in Coach Boudreau’s cap. However, Ovechkin was snubbed on Saturday when the NHL All-Star teams were announced; due to Montreal fan chicanery, Ovie finished sixth in the overall voting and won’t be on the starting lineup. Boudreau’s quote on ESPN: “It’s dumb. It’s not right the best player in the game is not a starter.”
All of us here at WLDC totally agree (even Ben!). Ovie should be joining Crosby and Malkin on the top line, not on-again-off-again Kovalev, oft-injured Koivu or flash-in-the-pan Tanguay. But alas, Habs fans are rabid and were out to fix the voting, hence Ovie receiving less than 500,000 votes (compared to the 1.2 million each Habs player received). We’ll see who the real All-Star is come January 25th.