Semyon Varlamov posted his first career shutout and Alex Ovechkin and Eric Fehr scored for the Caps’ to end their three game skid. But the story of the night was Ovechkin’s third period hit on Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta that resulted in a 5-minute boarding call and a game misconduct for The Great Eight.
Kaleta, a rough-and-tumble player in his own right, was caught with his back turned towards the boards as Ovechkin zeroed in on him. As the Sabres’ winger attempted to play the puck out of the zone, Ovi sent Kaleta flying head-first into the wall. Alex O. sat in the box for a cool minute before being informed of his ejection.
Coach Bruce Boudreau shared his thoughts on the hit after the game:
“We just watched it a half dozen times and he hits him in the shoulder, not the side,” Boudreau said. “It might have warranted a two-minute penalty, but I don’t think it warranted anything more than that.”
Alex Ovechkin also played down the hit:
“I think it was just a moment in the game,” Ovechkin said. “Sometimes you have a bad hit and nothing happens. Sometimes you have a good hit but the guy just falls into the boards and have blood. … I can do nothing about it. I’m just going to play my game. I’m not going to change. It is me.”
No matter what transpires, tonight’s ejection just adds to Ovechkin’s list of questionable hits. Most recently, Alex was fined for slew-footing Atlanta’s Rich Peverley in late October. Coincidentally, Ovechkin’s only other ejection came on December 2, 2006 when he boarded then Sabre, Daniel Briere.
The next meeting between these two teams is in exactly two weeks, at the HSBC Center in Buffalo. The boo birds will be out for Ovi (they always are), but one can only hope Mr. Kaleta does not retaliate the same way Mr. Briere did.