TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Ovechkin began Game 4 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal series with one of his signature moves -- he sought out one of the opposing defensemen expected to mark him and nailed him into the boards on the first shift.
It was the type of play a captain would make to try and energize his teammates. Ovechkin continued to keep up the physical play the Washington Capitals needed to win to avoid elimination, but eventually it cost him.
His charging penalty led to a power-play goal by the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Capitals were chasing -- just as they did for much of this series. Tampa Bay turned back two bids by Washington to come back and finished off the Capitals with a 5-3 victory to complete the series sweep.
"I think our best player tonight was our best player," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said of Ovechkin. "In the last two games he showed why he's one of the top 10 players on the planet. I thought he did everything he could."
Here's what Ovechkin had to say after Washington's final game of the 2010-11 season:
Q: What can you about the series now that it ends in a sweep?
A: Well, we fight. It was a one-goal game, and I don't know -- we just lost it. Nothing to say right now.
Q: What would you want to change from these four games?
A: We want to win but we didn't win. They play their system and when they have a chance to score, they score. We didn't.
Q: After getting through the first round in five games, did you think this was the start of something good?
A: You always think when you win in five games you have a good chance. After first loss, we was not upset and after the second and after the third we was ready to go. Something went wrong and we didn't win the game.
Q: Some players said if felt like they were the hungrier team. How does that happen given what you've been through the last few years?
A: I don't think we weren't hungry. We were hungry. We just didn't win. We want to win. They want to win. Somebody has to lose. We are losing and I don't know what to say right now.
Q: How big of a difference was Dwayne Roloson?
A: He was outstanding all four games. We knew he left the rebounds, but we just have to find the rebounds and we didn't. We didn't play well in the offensive zone.
Q: Is there something if you look back on previous years and this year that this team is missing?
A: I don't know. I don't think we miss something. We have unbelievable team, great locker room, great atmosphere but we just miss one opportunity to win one game and didn't bounce back. Again, it happened and we're going to see what is going to happen.
Q: Are you worried about the team being broken up or there being major changes?
A: I hope not. This locker room is unbelievable. Everybody supports everybody. I hope this same team is going to be here next year.