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Ovechkin takes himself to task for Game 3 loss

Friday, 05.08.2009 / 1:28 PM / Conference Semifinals: Washington vs. Pittsburgh

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Alex Ovechkin watched the video clips of all his shifts from Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins and came away thinking one thing: "Boy, I didn't play well at all."

Washington's superstar scored a goal, but that was off a fluky bounce off the end boards just 83 seconds in. He was held to five shots on goal and only 10 attempts at the net after averaging more than 10 shots on goal and 18 attempts at the net in Games 1 and 2.

He aims to change that in Game 4 Friday night (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS).

"The goal when I scored was lucky, but after that I just didn't skate," Ovechkin said. "I don't move my legs. Sometimes they did a good job, but it's not about them; it's all about me. It's my fault. (Sergei Fedorov and Viktor Kozlov) gave me nice passes to create something but I didn't create because my legs just didn't run. I don't know why. I feel pretty good last game, but I don't know why I didn't skate well."

There has been some speculation that Ovechkin is being bothered by some sort of injury, but Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau tried to put that notion to bed.

"I wish I was as healthy as him," Boudreau said. "As to (his health) bothering him, he still plays 22-23 plus minutes a game and wishes he could play more. I think he's just very focused on what he's doing and there is no such thing as fatigue in his mind."

Other than rehashing a game he clearly would like to forget, Ovechkin was in a jovial mood Friday morning as he addressed a large scrum of media on a set of risers along the wall outside the Washington Capitals dressing room.

He sported his famous gap-tooth smile as he joked that maybe Washington should let Pittsburgh score first in Game 4 because clearly scoring first hasn't mattered in this series at all.

Pittsburgh netted the first goal in Games 1 and 2, but lost. Ovechkin tallied the first just 83 seconds into Game 3, but the Penguins won in overtime, 3-2.

When he was asked if he's surprised that the Penguins own a 114-82 advantage in shots on goal so far in this series, Ovechkin again smiled and said, "No, they're a pretty good team if you know.

"They have to score goals and they have to shoot the puck and they've done that in all three games," he continued. "I hope (Friday night) is going to be different and we'll shoot the puck and score more goals. Two (goals) isn't good enough."

Things got even funnier when one reporter asked Ovechkin if he'll be playing on a line with Fedorov and Kozlov in Game 4. Ovechkin, knowing that Boudreau rarely says anything publicly about the game plan, smiled again before saying, "Come on, seriously, you think I'm going to answer that. Good try."

It should be noted that Ovechkin finished Game 3 skating with Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom, but he did line rushes with Fedorov and Kozlov Friday morning. Than again, Semin did not practice, but Ovechkin said his Russian teammate will play.

Contact Dan Rosen at drosen@nhl.com


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