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Alex Ovechkin's game-winning goal to defeat the New York Islanders last night was significant because of it's aesthetic quality and it's importance. Without the goal, the Capitals would have risked losing to a really bad team on their home ice. But it was also significant because it was yet another sign that the Capitals' star is starting to get his groove back.
Ovechkin made a beautiful move to get free, jetting up the ice, cutting inside of the Islanders' forward and finishing with a nifty backhand. It was the kind of play that made those who wondered whether Ovechkin was not in optimal shape look a little foolish. Very few players in this league could have made that kind of play.
On a larger level, though, Ovechkin's play has really picked up. The goal was Ovechkin's 25th of the season, and six of those goals have come in the last month. Overall, Ovechkin has six points and eight assists in the team's 13 games since the All-Star break, averaging over a point a contest. In plain terms, the dude has stepped up his play as the Capitals push towards the playoffs.
The next step now is for the rest of the team to follow his lead.
Today's must-reads from around the SB Nation network:
- Japers' Rink's recap of the Capitals' win.
- Is Ernie Grunfeld the right man to lead the Wizards into the future? Bullets Forever discusses.
- Hogs Haven's Q&A with Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller after the NFL combine.
- Testudo Times previews Maryland's game at Miami tonight.