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NHL Stadium Series

Ovechkin, Capitals will have good luck charm at Stadium Series

Luey, 13-year-old cancer survivor, to be guest of Washington forward for Stadium Series game against Maple Leafs

by Mike Zeisberger @zeisberger / Staff Writer

When the Washington Capitals take to the ice at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, their good-luck charm will be in the house.

Yes, Alex will be there to support Alex.

At the invitation of Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin, Alex Luey, a cancer survivor from Niagara Falls, Ontario, will be on hand when Washington and Toronto meet under the lights in front of more than 34,000 fans as part of the 2018 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series (8 p.m., NBC, CBC, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, NHLTV).

"I told him it's going to be a pretty cool atmosphere and to just enjoy it," Ovechkin said last week after a 3-2 victory against the Sabres in Buffalo. "He's going to remember it always.

"He's a great kid."

Luey, 13, has proven to be a catalyst for Ovechkin and the Capitals whenever he has attended one of their games in person.

Video: Alex Luey talks about meeting Alex Ovechkin

In 2016, Luey, a youth hockey player with the Niagara Falls Flyers, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a cancer that lives inside the bone. Luey had part of his right leg amputated, but with a prosthetic has returned to play the sport he loves.

When Sportsnet held its "Hometown Hockey" telecast in Niagara Falls on Oct. 8, hosts Ron MacLean and Tara Slone surprised Luey with a video message from Ovechkin, his favorite NHL player. At that time, Ovechkin invited Luey to the Capitals game against the Maple Leafs on Nov. 26 at Air Canada Centre.

With Luey and his family sitting in the stands, Ovechkin scored 12:43 into the game, then immediately gestured to the area of the arena he thought the boy was sitting in.

By the time the game ended, Ovechkin had scored a hat trick in the Capitals' 4-2 victory against the Maple Leafs. After the game, the Washington captain admitted he'd promised Luey beforehand he would score a goal for him.

In the end, he did even better. He scored three.

"I was so excited after he scored the first goal," Luey said after the game. "The second one was great. I was getting nervous at the end when he was trying for the third one, but it was amazing when he scored it."

Prior to the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz allowed Luey to read the starting lineup to the team in the dressing room, which was greeted by deafening cheers from the players. 

"It was an awesome evening," Luey said. "It was so exciting. And I didn't cry."

Tweet from @Sportsnet: Watch as a special bond forms between cancer survivor Alex Luey and his hero Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8). #UnitedBySport

Luey was back for another visit with the Capitals on Feb. 18, this time for Washington's practice in Buffalo. KeyBank Center, the home of the Buffalo Sabres, is a 20-mile drive from Luey's home.

The following day, Luey was on hand to see Ovechkin score again, this time in a 3-2 victory against the host Sabres. Ovechkin's goal, his 35th of the season, came two days after he failed to register a shot on goal in a 7-1 loss at the Chicago Blackhawks.

With Luey in attendance, Ovechkin has scored four goals in two games. He hopes that trend will continue against the Maple Leafs on Saturday.

"Obviously, the relationship we have is really good for us and for [Luey]," Ovechkin said.

"He's going to have a great time."

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