He's not Michael Jordan, but he looked like him on his way to the net in Thursday night's shootout between the Blues and Washington.
Wagging his tongue under his tinted visor as he approached goalie Curtis Sanford, Capitals sensation Alexander Ovechkin gave the crowd of 16,721 at MCI Center another reason to gush about the Caps' much-celebrated rookie. He got the Caps started with their first shootout goal in a 5-4 victory over the Blues.
Washington's Matt Pettinger netted the winner, but the story once again was the league's hottest player - Ovechkin. In regulation, he added another highlight goal and assist to give him 33 goals and 27 assists.
"This guy is a tremendous player," Blues coach Mike Kitchen said. "He's got more moves...you think you know one move, then he pulls another one on you..."
The Blues' losing streak is now at eight games, but with the overtime loss, they earned their first point since Jan. 2.
This one will sting a little, considering the Blues led 3-2 going into the third period after scoring power-play goals on three of their first four opportunities. The difference was the first four minutes of the third period, when the Capitals scored two goals to take a 4-3 lead.
"We had the lead going into the third period, and we gave up two goals," Kitchen said. "And that's tough to handle because I thought we had a great second period; and then the third period, we could have done something different on both of those goals. That was disappointing."
The Capitals took a 4-3 lead 3:53 into the period when Brian Willsie set up on the right side of Sanford, got the puck and wrapped it around the goalie's left side. Willsie's goal came 2:46 after Chris Clark tied the game 3-3 by putting a rebound past Sanford.
The Blues wasted power-play goals from Scott Young, Dennis Wideman and Mike Sillinger, which gave the team a 3-2 lead three minutes into the second period. Dan McAmmond's goal with 4:29 left in regulation tied the score 4-4.
But the Blues had their chances - Sillinger missed a penalty shot during the 4-on-4 overtime - and the defense didn't have a great game.
Sillinger's opportunity came 51 seconds into overtime when Washington defenseman Ivan Majesky covered the puck with his glove in the crease.
"I was trying to go five-hole," said Sillinger, who was stopped by Olaf Kolzig. "I tried to catch him backing up, and he made a good save."
Meanwhile, Washington's first two goals could have been considered abuse against the Blues' defense. Ben Clymer faked out Wideman with an incredible inside move and then scored one-on-one against Sanford. Later, Ovechkin startled Eric Weinrich by switching directions on him and getting to the net for a goal and a 2-1 lead.
Said Sanford: "He's the best player in the league. That's not saying anything (bad) about a lot of players in this league, but he's the best I've seen. His release on his shot, the way he moves with the puck, you understand why he's the first pick right there."
Flames 3, Canadiens 2
At Calgary, Alberta, Jarome Iginla scored twice and added an assist as Calgary handed Montreal interim coach Bob Gainey his first loss in three games.
Iginla's 20th goal tied the game 1-1 in the first period. His second of the night at 10:51 of the second was the eventual winner. Daymond Langkow also scored for Calgary, which has won five in a row at home. Miikka Kiprusoff made 16 saves to record his NHL-leading 24th win.
In other NHL action: Boston 4, Philadelphia 2; Carolina 4, NY Islanders 3; NY Rangers 4, Pittsburgh 2; Anaheim 4, Ottawa 3, SO; New Jersey 4, Nashville 3, SO; Chicago 4, Colorado 2; Phoenix 6, Florida 3; Vancouver 4, Buffalo 1; Los Angeles 8, Atlanta 6; Edmonton 3, San Jose 2, SO.