May 4, 2011, 11:59 AM EDT
If you want to test the validity of a Washington Capitals critic right now, the simplest way is to ask them about Alex Ovechkin. If that person says that he’s “choking,” there’s a solid chance that person hasn’t witnessed a single game in the series.
Simply put, Ovechkin has been willing his team to near-victory in their first three games. He has two goals and one assist for three points in Washington’s three losses and nine points in eight playoff games, overall. If there’s a valid criticism, it’s that he occasionally tries to carry the team on his back. There’s also the possibility that coach Bruce Boudreau might be stretching him a bit thin; NHL.com reports that Ovechkin played 5:45 of Game 3’s final 11 minutes.
You won’t confuse Ovechkin’s statement as the second coming of Joe Namath’s Super Bowl III guarantee, but he still provided what could be a rallying cry (of future punchline) when interviewed after Game 3. (You can also watch video footage of his responses here.)
Q: How would you describe what you’re up against now. Is this still winnable?
A: It is not over. We won’t give up. We’re going to win.
Q: Did you think after the second period that you guys had things under control?
A: I think we’ve had all three games in our hands, but we lost all three. It is hockey and it is hockey. Again, it is not over. They win three. We can win three. It is going to be a battle.
One thing that cannot be overlooked – although spotlighting it might make those losses hurt even more – is the fact that all three games have been very close. Throwing out one empty-net goal, all of the Lightning’s wins were by one goal.
That indicates that Tampa Bay has been better in tight games, for sure, but it also should bolster the Capitals’ confidence that a breakthrough might turn things around.
The thing is, Ovechkin’s been throwing his body around and creating scoring chances this whole time. If Washington hopes to come back, they’ll need some of their other players to step up. (We’re looking at you, Nicklas Backstrom.)
- Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for tonight 2
- (Report) Pens’ Rutherford to columnist: ‘You’re a (expletive) jerk’ 21
- Ducks silence Winnipeg’s whiteout crowd with OT win, push Jets to brink of elimination 26
- Video: Wild chase the Blues away to take series lead 42
- Too little, too late: Rangers stifle Penguins for 2-1 series lead 96
- Video: Jets fans celebrate return of playoff hockey with whiteout in Winnipeg 5
- Would McLellan like to coach McDavid? ‘You can have the best player and still not have the best team’ 23
- Burrows’ instigator suspension rescinded, allowed to play Game 4 24
- No hearing scheduled for Hamhuis after Bennett headshot 13
- Sharks and McLellan have ‘mutually agreed’ to part ways 50
- Of course they did: Oilers win 2015 NHL Draft Lottery, will select first overall (172)
- Stone suffered microfracture on Subban slash, Sens confirm (102)
- Report: Kings’ Stoll arrested for cocaine, MDMA possession (Updated) (99)
- Too little, too late: Rangers stifle Penguins for 2-1 series lead (96)
- Eichel understands Murray’s disappointment, but ‘extreme competitor’ has ‘a lot to offer’ (95)