Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals will join Russia at the 2015 IIHF World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic, in time for its semifinal game against the United States on Saturday.
The Capitals said Ovechkin was flying to Prague on Thursday, one day after Washington was eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Capitals lost 2-1 in overtime to the New York Rangers in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. Ovechkin scored the game's first goal.
Russia had kept one roster spot open, and according to the IIHF website Russia general manager Andrei Safranov told Russian media that team management decided to use it for Ovechkin. He's expected to join the team Friday.
Ovechkin, who led the NHL with 53 goals this season, will be playing in his 11th World Championship. He has 31 goals and 57 points in 65 games at the tournament and helped Russia win the gold medal in 2008, 2012 and 2014.
Russia advanced to the semifinals by defeating Sweden 5-3 on Thursday after the U.S. defeated Switzerland 3-1. The United States defeated Russia 4-2 in their preliminary-round game.