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Alex Ovechkin of Capitals not worried about ice time in Game 4

Washington captain more concerned about series-tying win against Maple Leafs

by Tom Gulitti @tomgulittinhl / NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin said he isn't worried about how much ice time he'll get against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, TVA Sports, NBCSN, CSN-DC).

With the Capitals trailing the best-of-7 series 2-1, Ovechkin's main concern is getting a victory.

"I don't care," Ovechkin said when asked if he hoped to get more time in Game 4. "I think I play good minutes. Again, right now it's not about my ice time and what I'm doing right now out there. We're losing the series. It's time to take, for you guys, a little bit of pressure off us and let us do our job."

 

[RELATED: Complete Capitals vs. Maple Leafs series coverage

 

After the left wing was credited with 15:08 in ice time in a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 3 on Monday, Capitals coach Barry Trotz acknowledged he needs to get his captain on the ice more often. Ovechkin's 12:40 in even-strength ice time ranked seventh among Washington's 12 forwards.

"That's on me to get him the ice time," Trotz said Tuesday. "Sometimes that's situational, sometimes that's the zone starts. Yeah, his minutes should be … I can get those up."

Trotz intentionally reduced Ovechkin's ice time during the regular season, trimming it from 20:18 per game last season to 18:21 this season but hasn't ramped it up in the series so far. Ovechkin played 19:52 in the a 3-2 overtime victory in Game 1 and 24:35 in a 4-3 double overtime loss in Game 2.

Despite his limited ice time in Game 3, Ovechkin led the Capitals with five shots on goal and was credited with seven shot attempts and four hits. Ovechkin scored in Games 2 and 3, but the Capitals lost each.

Video: WSH@TOR, Gm3: Ovechkin cranks one-timer past Andersen

The Maple Leafs have matched the line of center Nazem Kadri and wings Connor Brown and Leo Komarov against Washington's top line of center Nicklas Backstrom between Ovechkin and right wing T.J. Oshie for much of the series. Komarov, who is friends with Ovechkin from their days as teammates with Moscow Dynamo in Russia, has been physical with Ovechkin whenever he's gotten the chance.

Although Ovechkin is 31 now, Komarov said he doesn't think he's slowing down.

"He's an unbelievable player. Everyone knows that," Komarov said. "He's dangerous out there even if he's getting older. I think he has a lot of experience and every time he gets the puck you always have to be aware of him."

Ovechkin seems to be enjoying the 1-on-1 battle with his friend, even if there is some trash talk involved.

"He's a good, solid player," he said. "Obviously, he's a kind of a rat out there. He's trying to get under your skin. For me it doesn't matter what he's trying to do out there, like to talk to me or do something. I'm trying to concentrate on the different things right now [other] than talk about Leo."

Those different things include finding ways to score more goals against Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen.

"Obviously, [Andersen is playing] very well for them right now, but again, we just have to fight through it and have opportunity to have some traffic in front of the net, find the rebound," Ovechkin said. "Because we watched the video and he makes the save, but nobody [from the Capitals is in front]. So we have to put one guy or two guys in front of the net and get the dirty goals."

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