Saturday afternoon could be a day of redemption for Alex Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals, but neither he nor coach Bruce Boudreau really see it that way.
The Capitals will play host to the New York Rangers in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series and, with a 3-1 lead, have a chance to finish off the visitors. They were in this situation one year ago, ahead 3-1 against the Montreal Canadiens with Game 5 at Verizon Center, but ended up losing three straight contests and the series.
"It is new year, new series, new team," Ovechkin said. "I think if you going remember everything bad, then it is going to be bad for you. I think tomorrow first 10 minutes is going to be very important for us and them too."
Whether other players on the team or the coaching staff decide to use what transpired in Game 5 against the Canadiens as motivation for Saturday, Ovechkin is looking forward, not back.
"I don't remember nothing. I forget about it," he said. "We get experience. We know we can't go back. We have to play better every game and every period."
Montreal grabbed an early 2-0 lead in Game 5 against Washington last April and the series was never the same. Jaroslav Halak allowed only three goals in the final three games and the Canadiens were able to eke out just enough offense on the counter-attack to win the final two games as well.
The Canadiens were the attacking team in the first 10 minutes of Game 5, though, and they caught the Capitals for two goals -- both against Ovechkin's line and both scored from the area he typically is entrusted to defend (between the right point and the top of the right faceoff circle).
"I just see everything as team-oriented," Boudreau said. "I don't think we've got anybody thinking about, 'I can redeem myself' or 'I can look better.' We just want to go out there and play as well as we can."
Boudreau said he doesn't expect to show video from Game 5 against Montreal, but that game has been a point of reference for teaching and/or motivational purposes.
"I think they know what happened in Game 5 in the first 10 minutes," he said. "We've talked about it many times during the course of the year."