WASHINGTON -- Despite losing back-to-back potential series-clinching games, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin expressed his optimism in a matter-of-fact way following a 4-3 loss in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Rangers on Sunday.
"We're going to come back and win this series," Ovechkin said.
He stressed that belief later in his postgame comments to the media when talking about Game 7 on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).
The winner will play either the Montreal Canadiens or the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final.
"We're going to play our game and we're going to come back and we're going to play Montreal or Tampa," Ovechkin said.
Ovechkin has reason to be optimistic despite Washington giving up a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. The Capitals nearly came back from a 4-1 deficit Sunday with a dominating second period and a strong push in the final 15:36 of the third after Rick Nash and Dan Boyle scored to give the Rangers their three-goal lead.
Washington outshot New York 18-4 in the second and 28-8 after the first period. The Capitals had 34 shot attempts after Boyle made it 4-1; the Rangers had one. Henrik Lundqvist finished with 42 saves.
Evgeny Kuznetsov and Joel Ward scored to cut the Rangers' lead to 4-3 with 9:27 to play.
"As soon as we put the puck deep, hit their [defensemen], they afraid because we big, we strong and you can see how we score goals," Ovechkin said. "We just put bodies in front of Lundqvist and it goes in."
The problem is Ovechkin hasn't done enough of that and it's a reason why he hasn't scored in the past four games. Center Nicklas Backstrom has no points in the past five games. Washington's power play is 0-for-10 since Game 1, including 0-for-4 on Sunday.
"We have chances but we have to make one or two steps," Ovechkin said. "It starts for myself. I have to create more opportunities in front of the net, use the body and try to get the shot through."