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Ovechkin and Capitals lose scoring touch

by Dan Rosen

WASHINGTON -- No offense to New York Rangers forward Arron Asham, but it doesn't bode well for the Washington Capitals when a fourth-liner like him outscores Alex Ovechkin in a seven-game series.

Asham did just that in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Not surprisingly, Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are done.

Ovechkin was held off the scoresheet for the final five games of the series and was limited to one shot on goal in a 5-0 Game 7 drubbing on Monday at Verizon Center. He had a goal in Game 1 and an assist on Mike Green's overtime winner in Game 2, but nada, zippo, nothing after that even though he got 30 shots on goal in the series.

Despite seeing a lot of both Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi, Ovechkin gave all the credit for his lack of success to Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who went the final 120 minutes of the series without allowing a goal.

"I think it was just one guy out there," Ovechkin said. "Of course they played really well against my line, but Lundqvist did an unbelievable job. He makes incredible saves to keep them in the game. Especially Game 6, the saves that he makes was very huge for them."

Ovechkin had five shots on goal and several quality scoring chances in Game 6, but Lundqvist made 27 saves in a 1-0 win. He also made 13 saves in the first period on Monday to preserve a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.

"I thought he played really well," Lundqvist said of Ovechkin. "He had a lot of chances, but I felt like I was in position for a lot of his shots. You have to be, because he shoots so well and it is so hard to figure out position and if you're late he’s going to make you pay."

Ovechkin was clearly the driving force behind Washington's resurgence this season and its push to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He turned himself into a Hart Trophy finalist again by scoring 32 goals, including 22 in the last 21 games of the regular season.

But for the first time in his career, he went more than two straight playoff games without a point. And for the fifth time in his career the Capitals lost a Game 7. They have not played beyond the Eastern Conference Semifinals since Ovechkin joined the team in 2005-06.

"Maybe we tried too hard to put the puck in the net," Ovechkin said. "Maybe we weren't too loose to figure out how to do it. Even [Monday], the first 10 minutes we were all over them and we didn't score the goal."

Capitals coach Adam Oates, who earned wild amounts of praise for recreating Ovechkin and turning him back into a scorer -- this time on the right wing -- said there was nothing his captain should have done differently.

"I thought he played good hockey," Oates said. "[Sunday] he had five great chances, it just didn't go in for him. He continued to play good hockey, which is very important."

It just wasn't good enough to outscore even Asham -- and that's a big problem for the Capitals.

"It's very frustrating," Ovechkin said.


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