First call: Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin called out for fight with Hurricanes’ Andrei Svechnikov | TribLIVE.com
Breakfast With Benz

First call: Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin called out for fight with Hurricanes’ Andrei Svechnikov

Tim Benz
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The Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin knocks out the Hurricanes’ Andrei Svechnikov as they fight during the first period in Game 3 on Monday, April 15, 2019, at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.

In Monday’s “First Call,” Alex Ovechkin’s knockout in a fight. A preview of the Pirates series in Detroit. Gerrit Cole is heating up for Houston.


Ovi K.O.

Alexander Ovechkin didn’t score for the Capitals on Tuesday night. No one from Washington did. The Capitals were blanked by the Hurricanes, 5-0, after winning the first two games of their series against Carolina.

But Ovechkin won this fight against Andrei Svechnikov in convincing fashion.

That was Ovechkin’s first playoff fight. And it occurred against a 19-year-old rookie that Ovechkin outweighs by 51 pounds.

So maybe not the tough-guy move Ovechkin thought he was pulling off? At least that’s what Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour seems to think.

Svechnikov’s brother, Evgeny, plays for the Red Wings. He sent a message to Ovechkin via social media after the fight.

Evgeny Svechnikov is a little older and bigger than his brother. He’s 212 pounds and 22 years old. So maybe Ovi will have to fight both brothers next year.


Nice debut

Last weekend, Cale Makar was playing college hockey in Buffalo. He was a defenseman for the UMass team that lost to Minnesota-Duluth in the NCAA hockey final.

Last night, the Hobey Baker Award winner made his NHL debut for Colorado. And he did this for the Avalanche.

That proved to be the game-winning goal for the Avs as they beat the Flames, 6-2, in Game 3.

Colorado now leads the series 2-1.


Bonino bomb

Predators forward Filip Forsberg scored this highlight-reel goal to help Nashville win in Dallas.

But give credit to former Penguin Nick Bonino for making the home-run flip-pass. That’s Bonino’s second playoff point. It was Forsberg’s first goal of the playoffs.

Nashville has a 2-1 series lead.


So what do they have?

The Pirates are in Detroit today and tomorrow for a short series. Joe Musgrove and Trevor Williams start for the Pirates. They’ll be opposed by Matthew Boyd and Spencer Turnbull.

The Tigers are off to a surprisingly decent start. Detroit is 8-7 after losing 98 games a year ago. However, they have lost three in a row.

The pitching has been good for the Tigers. Like the Pirates, they’ve allowed only 49 runs. That’s the second fewest in baseball behind only Tampa Bay.

Detroit’s fielding has been much better than what we have seen in Pittsburgh, though. Ron Gardenhire’s club has committed only five errors. That’s the second-lowest total in the majors behind only the Royals with three. Meanwhile, the Pirates have 14.

Unfortunately for the Tigers’ lineup, it can’t hit right now. Detroit’s seven homers are a league low. And their .201 batting average is 28th out of 30 teams.


Checking on Gerrit ‘K’ole

Former Pirate Gerrit Cole is 1-2 to start the year in Houston. Over four starts, his ERA is a so-so 3.24.

But he is striking out batters at a remarkable rate. In fact, Cole is tied for the MLB lead with 36 Ks. The right-hander fanned 11 in his most recent start against Seattle on Sunday.

Meanwhile, he has walked only six batters in four starts.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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