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Ovechkin says Capitals will bounce back in Game 2

by Dan Rosen
ARLINGTON, Va. -- All he didn't do was score a goal, and even that was questionable.

Alex Ovechkin had 28 attempts at the net Wednesday night, including 13 shots on goal. He was credited with an assist when Tomas Fleischmann barely got a piece of his shot for the Caps' first goal 6:40 into the second period. He got another assist on Alexander Semin's game-tying goal 1:42 into the third period.

Ovechkin had had six hits, three takeaways and an unheard-of-for-a-forward 26:07 of ice time. He was energetic and thriving off an emotional sellout crowd of 18,277 at Verizon Center, especially in the first period when it looked like there was three of him out there.

And, still the Capitals lost, 4-3, to fall behind 1-0 to the New York Rangers in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal.

"Twenty-eight total shots, holy smokes," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said Thursday after the team's optional morning skate, in which Ovechkin did not participate. "He did a real good job. When you take 528 shots in a row, 13 to us isn't surprising."

Even though Washington lost, Ovechkin and his linemates -- Nicklas Backstrom and Viktor Kozlov -- were hardly to blame.

Ovechkin did what he did. Kozlov scored his first playoff goal in his 22nd career game. Backstrom had the primary assist on his goal and won 72 percent of his faceoffs.

"We feel real good about ourselves," Ovechkin said. "Yeah, we lose the game, but it was a good battle. If we play the same way we played in the third period and first period we're going to win this series. It happens. I feel our team dominated the first period. We just didn't score a goal. It was a pretty interesting game. Next game will be more interesting."

Even though it was a point of contention in some circles, Boudreau was actually pleased the amount of time Ovechkin and, for that matter, Mike Green, spent on the ice during shifts.

Ovechkin averaged 78 seconds per shift and Green, who played a game-high 30:47, averaged 61 seconds.

Both seem relatively high, but Boudreau was quick to note that the Capitals' had seven power plays and both players are on the ice for the full two minutes. That's an extra 14 minutes of ice with an average of two minutes per shift.

"That really ups their shifts," Boudreau said. "I was really proud of both of those guys because their shifts weren't that long as compared to normal. They did play a lot, but we don't usually have a game where we have seven power plays either."

The one thing Boudreau isn't worried about is Ovechkin and his energy and enthusiasm for this time of the year.

It was evident how much this means to him Wednesday night.

"He thrives on this," Boudreau said. "Alex wants to show the world he's the best. He tried so hard (Wednesday) and he didn't tire and played 26 minutes. He was hitting and shooting. He did everything the best player in the NHL is supposed to do except come away with the two points."

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