NY Post - He should have known and he knows it.
Henrik Lundqvist, that is, after facing Alex Ovechkin for 13-plus seasons, five playoff series, 39 regular-season games and 33 postseason matches (not to mention international competition), should have known the game’s most prodigious shooter would, well, shoot the puck.
This is now two days in a row that all-world goalies have tipped their cap to Ovi and called him daddy. Yesterday it was Andrei Vasilevskiy saying that he would have to be an octopus to stop Ovi’s shot, and now today it’s Lundqvist, who has faced Ovechkin a bazillion times, still being shocked that he was able to rip that shot.
“It’s a lesson there,” the King said after the Rangers’ 4-3 overtime defeat to the Capitals Wednesday night, in which The Great Eight recorded a pair of power-play goals from his suite in the left circle. “I’ve played so many times against him, I should have known.”
Lundqvist, beaten ultimately by Matt Niskanen’s rebound goal at 2:18 of extra time, was referring to Ovechkin’s first goal of the game, at 3:32 of the second period, which gave the defending Stanley Cup champs a 2-1 lead after Mika Zibanejad and John Carlson had exchanged first-period goals. Alone in the circle, Ovechkin whipped Carlson’s wobbly feed past the netminder on the short side. When the puck evaded Lundqvist, the goaltender sank in despair in his crease.
“I didn’t expect him to shoot at all,” said Lundqvist, who has been beaten by Ovechkin 24 times in the regular-season and 13 times in the playoffs. “It looked like he was going to receive the pass. When I realized he’d shot, it was hard to recover. It was coming at [me]. I should have known.”
I’m sorry what? “I didn’t expect him to shoot at all” is a wild thing to say about Ovechkin. Even on that impossible feed from Carlson, you have to cheat towards Ovi because he’s such a wizard you know he’s going to at least try and get that shot off. Hank’s tweet is more complimentary than Vasilesvskiy’s in some ways, just how stunned he was, after all these years, that Ovi was able to get that shot off.
There might not be anything else quite like it in sports. You know Ovi is going to take that shot, you can scheme and practice against it, but there’s nothing you can really do about it. Mika Zibanejad put it plainly:
“We talked about it before the game, but it’s not just him,” Zibanejad said. “Obviously he has the best shot, but the guys around him, too. Maybe we made it a little too easy for [Nicklas] Backstrom and [Evgeny] Kuznetsov to get it to Carlson.
“It’s unfortunate because we knew what to look for and we had a plan to stop it, but we were not able to do it.”
And finally, David Quinn’s thoughts on seeing the Ovi Shot destroy him live and in person:
This marked Quinn’s first exposure as a head coach to the Washington power-play machine. He had an answer when asked how it felt to see it and Ovechkin up-close and personal.
“Sickening,” he said.
Well said, David Quinn. Well said.