WASHINGTON -- It didn't take long for Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin to make a big impression on Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Philadelphia Flyers at Verizon Center on Saturday.
In his first shift, Ovechkin set a physical tone when he leveled Flyers forward Michael Raffl.
He didn't stop there. A few minutes after he missed an open net later in the first period, he lined up Flyers forward Brayden Schenn and sent him tumbling into the Philadelphia bench.
Ovechkin led the Capitals with seven hits in their 4-1 win, which gave them a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.
"We knew they were gonna play hard, they were gonna play physical, and we had to respond, and I think we responded well, obviously," Ovechkin said. "We played our game physical. Not a pretty one, but we'll take it and we'll move forward."
Video: PHI@WSH, Gm2: Ovechkin lays Schenn into the boards
Ovechkin later scored on the power play for his 71st point in 74 career Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Known for his hard shot and hard hits, Ovechkin already had made his mark on the series. In Game 1, a 2-0 Capitals win, Flyers forward Sean Couturier was injured when Ovechkin checked him into the boards at center ice in the second period.
Couturier, Philadelphia's best defensive center, will miss two weeks with an upper-body injury.
"When you have a leader like Ovi and you see him doing the hard stuff, like the hits and the getting the puck deep, with a guy with his skill set, if he's able to sacrifice the highlight-reel play to make the right play, everyone else behind him better jump on board, otherwise you might as well not suit up," Washington forward T.J. Oshie said. "That kind of comes with being a leader, you set the tone and that's what he did tonight."
At 6-foot-3, 239 pounds, Ovechkin is an intimidating presence. His willingness to use his size to deliver big hits has a trickle-down effect on his teammates.
"It's always great when he's involved and he throws his body around," Nicklas Backstrom said. "You always know when he does that the crowd's going to get into it also. You need that energy."
Game 3 is in Philadelphia on Monday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, CSN-DC, CSN-PH).
Video: PHI@WSH, Gm2: Ovechkin rips a one-timer by Mason