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For Ovie, win comes before all

Wednesday, 05.13.2009 / 12:17 PM / Conference Semifinals: Washington vs. Pittsburgh

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

"I try not to think about the game because if you think about the game starting right now you're going to be ready, but you're mind isn't going to be ready because you'll all the time be thinking about hockey. I don't do that. I try to think about hockey when I wake up after my nap. When I drive to the Verizon Center, I listen to music and say, 'OK, let's start thinking about hockey and concentrate on the game.'"
-- Alex Ovechkin

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Judging by how Alex Ovechkin seems to embrace the bright lights of the big stage, you would have to assume that he also dreams of scoring the big goal.

Not so, says Washington's No. 8.

"I just want to win and I don't care if I don't score or if I play one minute," Ovechkin said Wednesday morning. "I just want to win the game."

When Ovechkin spoke to the media at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the opening faceoff for Game 7 against the Pittsburgh Penguins (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS) was still more than eight hours away, so he said he would do his best not to think about it for at least a few more hours.

As hard as that may seem, thinking about things other than hockey during a game-day afternoon has been Ovechkin's routine since he debuted in the NHL in 2005. It's safe to say that whatever he's doing, well, it works.

"Right now it's time to sleep," said Ovechkin, who has 13 points in this series and a League-best 20 in the playoffs. "I try not to think about the game because if you think about the game starting right now you're going to be ready, but you're mind isn't going to be ready because you'll all the time be thinking about hockey. I don't do that. I try to think about hockey when I wake up after my nap. When I drive to the Verizon Center, I listen to music and say, 'OK, let's start thinking about hockey and concentrate on the game.' "

In regards to said game, Ovechkin, who has played in two Game 7s, said the key is to play it safe, at least from the start. As the game continues on each team will take more and more chances, but nobody wants to be the one who makes the first mistake.

"Everybody knows if they make some mistakes it's going to cost us a lot, it's going to cost us a goal," Ovechkin said. "It's all about mistakes and easy chances."

Experience should help as Ovechkin will be in his third Game 7 while Sidney Crosby has never played in one anywhere. But Ovechkin has never played in a Game 7 of this magnitude and one with this kind of hype.

Hockey writers who didn't cover any of the first six games of the Penguins-Caps series are in town for Game 7 because it is arguably the biggest game the League has had since the work stoppage and the biggest Game 7 since Ray Bourque played with the Colorado Avalanche against the New Jersey Devils in 2001.

"The last Game 7 (against the New York Rangers) was a different game in a different atmosphere," Ovechkin said. "We've never been in this situation before in the second round. It's going to be cool."

Contact Dan Rosen at drosen@nhl.com

Quote of the Day

I just think about how much it hurts. The feelings aren't going to go away, probably never. It's just something that sticks with you for a long time.

— San Jose forward Logan Couture to The Canadian Press on the Sharks' first-round loss to the Kings after taking a 3-0 series lead