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How to slow-vechkin

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

WASHINGTON – They did it once, but can the Habs do it again?

Keeping Alex Ovechkin off the scoresheet is one thing; holding him without a shot is another. While his Caps teammates were busy firing 47 shots at Jaroslav Halak, Ovie’s stick from Game 1 probably doesn’t even need a new tape job for Game 2.

If not seeing him get a single shot through on Jaroslav Halak wasn’t impressive enough, it also marked only the fourth time in 418 career games including playoffs that Ovechkin has been held shotless.

“You can’t frustrate a guy like that for very long,” warned Hal Gill who still did exactly that last spring when he and the Penguins bounced Ovechkin from the playoffs. “You always need to know where he is and what he’s up to since he can turn it on at any time. He’s such a dynamic player that it’s not about one of us being ready to shut him down, but the whole team.”

A key part of the Habs’ group hug that neutralized Ovechkin, Mathieu Darche knows all about shutting down the Caps by committee.

“I don’t think it was any one or two guys who did that to Ovechkin last night – we did it as a team,” said Mathieu Darche, who had a team-high five shots skating on a line with Maxim Lapierre and Tom Pyatt. “Our line just tried to stay in their end as much as we could, because no team, especially an explosive one like the Caps, wants to be in their own zone. We tried to hammer the puck down low and wear them down.”

Another one of those who did everything but spoon Ovechkin in Game 1, Dominic Moore was in the mood for anything but patting himself on the back after the Caps superstar’s off-night.

“Without question we did a really great job as a group last night, but we can’t take too much credit, either,” said Moore. “I expect Ovechkin to be getting shots and bombarding our net in no time.”

Manny Almela is a writer for

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