Ovechkin hat trick helps doom Devils, 5-1

What a difference two days makes.

Alexander Ovechkin scored a hat trick and added an assist while Braden Holtby stopped 21 of 22 shots as the Capitals beat the New Jersey Devils 5-1.

It was less than 48 hours ago that Troy Brouwer swung his stick in disgust after the Caps gave up two goals and in the third period that started with a 2-1 Caps lead.

Brouwer would net the game's final goal off of an Ovechkin helper in the closing minutes of the third period.

The third period that the Caps played today was as good a period as the Capitals could have hoped for: they stayed out of the box (save a delay of game penalty, the 10th delay penalty in 17 games), outshot the Devils 11-7, capitalized on two power play chances and added a goal on the shorthand through Eric Fehr.

Holtby continued his improvement from his shaky start as well, although facing less shots--the 22 against him were the least he has seen all season.

It's the first win for the Caps over the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference, snapping a nine-game losing skid to top teams in the conference.

Also worth noting, the Caps are 5-5 in their last 10 and, shockingly, only four points our of first place in the Southeast Division.

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Don't count Ovechkin as being back just yet. Pump the brakes, kid.

A hat trick is a fun thing to watch on a Saturday afternoon, or ever, and Ovechkin has looked better the last two games.

But it's still too early. Calling him 'back' will be as empty and meaningful as calling him 'washed up' a few weeks ago.

See if he keeps the production up. It's nice to see him tied for the team lead in goals. That's a step in the right direction.

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There was a lot of excitement about Wojtek Wolski before the season started. People thought they saw potential in the former first-rounder. 

That's all gone now.

He has two goals and two assists thus far in the season and, had he been able to score on an empty net from six inches out. In the second intermission, Karl Alzner even called Wolski out, saying that there was a "Grade A" scoring chance that the Caps missed.

Wolski is on his fifth NHL team in eight seasons for a good reason: nobody made him stick around by giving him a long deal. He just wasn't worth it.

In all fairness, Wolski does have two more goals that Jason Chimera does and one more than Nicklas Backstrom.

Chimera and Backstrom are the only two who aren't performing like they should. Wolski just isn't all that good.

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The next game brings Alex Semin back into town--Joe Corvo too, but Semin stuck around a little longer.

He has three goals through 15 games, two of which coming on the power play. Semin is on pace to score around 10 goals this short season, continuing his slide from the last two years.

Even if he's not a threat, it's going to be odd having Semin come back.

It wasn't that long ago that Semin was on the other side of Ovechkin and centered by Backstrom.

It wasn't that long ago that this line was one of the most potent offensive lines in the leaue--two speedy wingers with wicked shots and a center who could thread the needle. 

This was going to be the line that would eventually won it all for DC. 

Except it wasn't.

The reunion will be bittersweet. He didn't leave DC on good terms by any means and he's the enemy.

But once he was ours.

 

 

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