BROSSARD, Quebec -- When facing an elite scorer, a common last-gasp tactic is to hit him early, hit him hard, and hit him often.
Assuming you can catch him, the strategy should bear fruit as the star player will begin to wear down, and ultimately, or hopefully, become a little tentative to go to the areas of the ice where he can hurt you.
As the Montreal Canadiens prepare to face Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals at Bell Centre on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN-US, SN), they know that is not an approach that will slow down the hottest goal scorer in the NHL.
The problem with hitting Ovechkin is not catching him; it's avoiding hurting yourself while doing it.
"I've lined up beside him a few times," Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher said after practice Friday. "I actually tried to hit him a couple of times. That didn't go well."