The Washington Capitals erased a two-goal deficit to beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-4 in overtime on Tuesday, but that wasn't the big story coming out of Washington after the game.
Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin was benched for the final minute of regulation while his teammates tied the game, and he remained on the pine for the start of overtime.
Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau explained the move afterwards, saying that he went with the guys he trusted more to score a goal that game.
"I thought other guys were better than him and there was just a chance other guys might score the goal," Boudreau said. "Ninety-nine per cent of the time Alex is the guy I think is going to score the goal. I just didn't think he was going to score the goal at that time tonight. You go with your gut feeling. I got lucky."
Ovechkin did assist on the game-winner, and said all the right things after the game, but still the question comes up: was this a one-off situation where Boudreau went with his gut feeling, or will the two-time MVP continue to lose crucial minutes until he rediscovers his elite game?
Coming off a disappointing season last year where he recorded career lows in goals (32) and points (85), Ovechkin is off to another slow start in 2011-12.
The 26-year-old has five goals and five assists through 10 games this year, which means he's on pace for new career lows in points and assists.
Ovechkin is also on a career low pace in average ice time. He played just 17:51 against the Ducks, bringing his season average to 18:37 – a far cry from the 21:59 he's averaged throughout his seven years in the league, and behind 63 other forwards in the NHL this season.
But all of this hasn't stopped the Caps from winning. Last year Washington finished first in the Eastern Conference with a 48-23-11 record and they're off to another fast start this year, 8-2-0 through their first 10 games.
So was Tuesday's benching an isolated incident or was it Boudreau sending a message to his superstar – and the rest of his team – that he won't hesitate sitting any player that he feels is underperforming?
You've heard what we've had to say, now it's your turn: Has Bruce Boudreau lost faith in Alex Ovechkin? As always, it's Your! Call.