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Toast of the town: Alex Ovechkin

Wednesday, 04.29.2009 / 1:53 PM / Conference Semifinals: Washington vs. Pittsburgh

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The scary thing about the Washington Capitals now is that Alex Ovechkin is still on the verge of his breakout game.

The super sniper, a back-to-back Rocket Richard winner who has 121 goals in the last two seasons, scored three against the New York Rangers in the first round. It's a good and fair number, but you know fans of the Pittsburgh Penguins are thinking the worst.

What if "Ovie" breaks out? What will happen then?

It's not as if Ovechkin is biding his time or letting others have their moment. He was the most dominant player on the ice for the Capitals in the opening round and still managed just the three goals, which, of course, would be good enough for most anybody else.

Ovechkin is hardly just anybody else, but that's why he was still the best player.

When you factor in his hits (26), his shots on goal (49), his ice time (22:46 per game) and his energy (immeasurable), Ovechkin displayed that propels regular season superstars into postseason heroes.

"Sometimes you get a great character guy without the talent or a great talent, but a bad character guy," Capitals Chairman and Majority Owner Ted Leonsis said. "We just have happened to luck out with this great combination."

Does he have a magical run in him? Without question.
Would playing a playoff series against Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins be the perfect time for him to go on a hot streak? Well, duh.

It's the "you-never-know" factor that keeps television sets tuned into Capitals games and fans in the building until the final buzzer.

Ovechkin has that it factor that you just can't find. The best thing about him is he knows it and he doesn't hide from it.

"You never know what is going to happen," Ovechkin said.

Contact Dan Rosen at drosen@nhl.com
Quote of the Day

I didn't even know how to celebrate. I threw my hands up, they gave me a hug, so I guess that's all I needed.

— Sabres forward Tim Schaller on scoring his first NHL goal Sunday against the Bruins