Last night the Florida Panthers defeated the Washington Capitals 3-2 in a game that went ten rounds into the shootout before Tomas Kopecky scored the game winner. The win was the Panthers fourth in five games and it brought their record to 11-17-5.
The Florida goals were scored by Dylan Olsen and Aleksander Barkov. Olsen now has seven points in his first nine games as a Panther. His goal last night stretched his scoring streak to five games. The goal came 2:13 into the second period and put the Panthers up 1-0. Olsen’s tally was a result of a well-timed pinch but it also benefited from some lax defending from Alex Ovechkin. Let’s take a closer look:
Alex Ovechkin may lead the league in goals but he is also notorious for having a tendency to quit on some plays in the defensive zone. That is exactly the case here as the image of flat-footed Ovechkin is the resounding image from the above video.
The above screen shot is just moments before the Olsen goal. As a right wing, Ovehckin’s defensive responsibility is to cover the Panthers defenseman at the point. His responsibilities include covering his half of the ice so he is in fine position here as Kopecky lines up a shot from the point.
As the play progesses, Kopecky’s shot deflects towards Ovechkin’s side of the ice.
As you can see above, the puck is sitting at the outside hashmark of the right face-off circle, precisely where Ovechkin should be. What you cannot see right now is Dylan Olsen beginning to pinch down from his defensive point to play the puck. Right now, Ovi is the closest player to the puck. With a couple quick strides, he would be able to beat Olsen to the puck and start a breakout. At the very least, he could meet Olsen with a body check or something to disrupt him.
Instead, Ovechkin does a whole lot of nothing.
As you can see in the above image, Ovechkin has remained flat-footed, deciding not to pursue the puck and thus allowing Olsen to pinch down, gather the puck and eventually beat Philipp Grubauer for the Panthers first goal of the game. From the Capitals perspective, it must be frustrating because this is such a simple goal to avoid. If Ovechkin just makes a semblance of an effort to play defense, the goal does not happen. Maybe Olsen never gets to the puck or maybe he just pushes it deep into the zone.
The play does not look to be dangerous as Olsen has the puck at a bad angle and it is exactly the type of play that one would expect Ovechkin to slack off on given his reputation. Olsen does a good job finishing with a strong shot but he never even gets the opportunity to shoot if Ovechkin decides to play a little defense.