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Capitals' struggles epitomized by Ovechkin

Sunday, 04.19.2009 / 7:13 PM / 2009 Playoffs Conference Quarterfinals

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Bruce Boudreau said he can see after two games that Alex Ovechkin is pressing, so the Washington Capitals coach is trying to ease the super sniper's burden by taking some of the pressure off.

"The people that have been around here all year know that Ovie wants to win as bad as anybody and sometimes he takes too much pressure upon himself to do it," Boudreau said. "Individually he's probably worried so much that everything relies on him and it shouldn't. We should be taking pressure off of him. It's not a one-man team."

Ovechkin was not made available to the media Sunday as he was one of the seven players who did not take part in the Capitals' optional practice. He said after Saturday's game that he's not frustrated and not totally shocked that the Capitals are down 2-0 to the New York Rangers in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal round series.

That being said, after ringing arguably his best shot of the series so far off the crossbar with 6:01 remaining in Saturday's game, Ovechkin covered his face with his glove and then stared up at the Verizon Center rafters in disbelief.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who has stopped 67 of 70 shots in the series, including all 19 off Ovechkin's stick, said, "It's good to hear him swear a lot out there. It's a good sign."

"It's the playoffs and every chance you have you have to score," Ovechkin said after Saturday's game. "My bad I didn't score when (Alexander) Semin gave me the puck. I hit the crossbar."

Ovechkin remained optimistic, saying the Capitals now have an opportunity to bounce back at Madison Square Garden, which promises to be just as loud as Verizon Center was these last two games.

"Last year we lost three in a row (to Philadelphia) and we bounced back," Ovechkin said. "We're going to play the same way."

However, while Boudreau doesn't think that Lundqvist has the mental edge over his team right now, Ovechkin has repeatedly commented about how good the gold-medal winning goal is and how difficult it is to beat him.

"It doesn't matter how the puck goes into the net, high or low, under the stick," Ovechkin said. "It's tough to beat him, that's all."

Ovechkin and the Capitals are going to have to find a way.

"It looks like it's simple," Ovechkin added, "but it's not simple."

Contact Dan Rosen at drosen@nhl.com


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