TORONTO -- Alex Ovechkin was not just playing for his teammates on Tuesday, but also for his young friend Alex Luey.
"He's our lucky charm; he always brings luck to this building," Ovechkin said after scoring the game-winning goal in the Washington Capitals 4-3 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. "It doesn't matter how we play, bad or good, we always seem to get a point or two points."
Ovechkin, who had four points (two goals, two assists) on Tuesday, met up with Luey prior to the game, then invited him into the locker room after the game where he was presented with Washington's Player of the Game helmet.
"Obviously it's an emotional moment for me, for this whole organization," Ovechkin said. "We're going to play for him, and we're going to [give] our emotional support to him and his family."
Ovechkin first met Luey, a youth hockey player with the Niagara Falls Flyers, in 2017 when he was 13. The initial meeting came a year after Luey was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer that caused him to have his right leg amputated.
When Sportsnet held its "Hometown Hockey" telecast in Niagara Falls on Oct. 8, 2017, hosts Ron MacLean and Tara Slone surprised Luey with a video message from Ovechkin, his favorite NHL player. Ovechkin invited Luey to meet the Capitals at a game in Toronto. He had been declared cancer-free then but it has since returned.
Ovechkin promised Luey he would score for him when he first hosted him in Toronto but ended up with a hat trick in that game. Ovechkin said Luey knows he always does his best to play well in front of him.
"He knows, if I score here it's only for him," Ovechkin said. "To see how he smiles, how he enjoys that moment, especially in these tough moments for him and his family, it's big time. We're going to pray for him and hope everything is going to be fine."