ARLINGTON, Va. – Alex Ovechkin
can play to a crowd, we know that. He didn't disappoint Friday, meeting a media horde in front of his locker at the Kettler Capitals' Iceplex following a light-hearted, spirited practice.
Ovechkin touched on a number of issues, including thoughts after the New York Rangers
' 4-3 victory in Game 1 and what needs to be done for the Capitals to win Game 2. Here's what the superstar his fans call "Ovie" had to say:
How did Rangers defenseman Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival play against you guys?
"I think everybody had a great chance to score goals, but they played great defensively and they gave us an opportunity to shoot the puck, but they didn't let us make some traffic or make some rebounds. They played great."
Is creating traffic essential in front of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist if you want to score goals?
"It's a key for us. We have to make some traffic. We have to make some rebounds. We have to pay some price."
Does that mean sometimes you have to wait to shoot the puck for the traffic to get there?
"Not wait. Sometimes I have open space in front of me, but there is one guy for sure around me and I don't have lots of time to think about what to do. I have to shoot quick and as hard as I can."
Would you change anything else about the way you guys played offensively in Game 1?
"No, no, no. I think we played great. Well, not great. We lost the game, but if we're going to play the same way we're going to score some goals, for sure. In 5-on-5 we have to improve ourselves. We have to score more goals in 5-on-5."
Rangers captain Chris Drury could be back in Saturday. Any thoughts on that?
"He's a great player and a leader of their team. He was injured and now he gets more rest than everybody. Of course it's going to be a big key for them, but it doesn't matter for us. It's a big time for us. They won the last game against us and we want to get ready for (Saturday's) game and win it."
Was the penalty shot drill you did after practice fun and important to keep it light?
"Oh yeah, we just tried to have fun, put our emotions in a different way with a penalty shot drill."
How do you feel about your game because you have a lot of pressure on you now?
"I don't feel pressure, you know. I'm fourth year here in the League. Everyday I hear you have pressure, you have pressure. I just enjoy it and have a good time."
They keep saying you're the biggest star in the League, biggest star in the world. How do you live up to that?
"I don't try to think about it. If you start thinking about you're the greatest, you're the biggest man in the NHL, than you just go down. I just try to be myself, try working hard and try to enjoy every second and every minute."
Do you talk about the importance of 5-on-5 play because you are pretty much assuming you're not going to get seven power plays again?
"You know, in 5-on-5 we had great opportunities, especially in the third period. (Nicklas Backstrom
) gave me great opportunities to score goals. Maybe it was just a little bit frustrating. We're more comfortable and ready to go. I think it's going to be pretty good, the 5-on-5 game, (Saturday)."
Do you have any more insight on how to go up against Henrik Lundqvist?
"He played great (Wednesday) night. He win the game for them. They didn't have many chances to score goals, but it's the playoffs and if you do get chances to score goals you have to use them. We didn't use our chances and we lost the game. Next game, (Saturday), we just have to use our chances, play smart in the offensive zone and be more responsible on our chances."
Bruce Boudreau hasn't publicly said who is starting in goal for you guys. Does it matter to you?
"It doesn't matter. Everybody knows we have great goalies. Yeah, everybody has bad luck. It happens sometimes. It's a long way to win the series, a long way to go. It doesn't matter who is going to start tomorrow."
Talk about the physicality of the series?
"A physical game is important for everybody. I think our team is physical and it's a big challenge for everybody to play a physical game. It's going to be the same way. We have to play the same way, the physical way, especially in the neutral zone."
How important would it be to have Jose Theodore back there for some continuity?
"Well, I don't know who is going to start (Saturday). It doesn't matter who is going to start, Jose or Varly (Simeon Varlamov. We're going to play for him, it doesn't matter who."
Do you think you guys were as physical in the third as you were in the first in Game 1?
"Um, no, we didn't play a physical game in the third period like we always do. Maybe the game was tied and after (Brandon) Dubinsky scored his goal we were a little bit frustrated, but we didn't want to get some hits because if you get some hits you may get some penalties. We just tried to score goals. It was close, but not close enough."
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