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Ovechkin's trophy bids come up short in finale

by Corey Masisak
WASHINGTON  -- Alex Ovechkin did a little bit of everything on the final day of the regular season.

He tried to help his teammates reach milestones. He lined up at center for a faceoff. He even helped toss t-shirts into the crowd after the game was over. 

What the Washington Capitals' captain was unable to do was collect the three points necessary to capture the Art Ross Memorial Trophy for the second time in his five-year NHL career. Ovechkin was held without a point in Washington’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins, so he finished the season with 50 goals and 109 points – three shy of Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin.

"It is just a moment – sometimes you win but sometimes you don’t," Ovechkin said of the scoring race. "Congrats to Sedin – he deserves it and he played great. We all tried but someone had to get it."

Ovechkin lost out on the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy when Sidney Crosby scored his 51st goal of the season against the Islander Sunday.

The two-time League MVP tallied twice Friday night to reach 50 for the fourth time, but none of his five shots on net were able to sneak past Boston goalie Tim Thomas. The best chance came in the second period, when the puck trickled toward him near the left post, but Thomas was able to recover and ward off Ovechkin’s shot.

“You could see in the second period, once he missed that chance that Thomas made the great save on, he was kind of like, ‘Oh, this is not going to happen today,’" Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "To me it doesn’t take away from the year he’s had."

He began the game playing with Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble – his expected linemates during the playoffs -- but Boudreau moved his buddy Alexander Semin onto the line at the beginning of the second period.

Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin combined for nine points Friday night against the Thrashers, but they were unable to find the same chemistry.

"It is just a moment – sometimes you win but sometimes you don’t. Congrats to Sedin – he deserves it and he played great. We all tried but someone had to get it."
-- Alex Ovechkin

"Boston looked to me like their whole concern, for the most part, was to not let Alex score," Boudreau said. "That was their goal today. Every time he was on the ice today they had three or four guys attacking him and they were hanging back.

"Then our guys were looking for him instead of doing the things they’d normally do [in the playoffs]. They were looking for him all the time. We’ll get back to normal by then."

Now Ovechkin will turn his attention to the one piece of hardware he has not won during his time in Washington – the Stanley Cup. The Capitals will be considered one of the heavy favorites considering their 121 points is eight more than any other team in the League and they scored 313 goals this season – the most by any club since Pittsburgh’s 362 in the 1995-96 campaign.

"It is always nice to finish the season in first place," Ovechkin said. "It is most important thing for what is coming that everybody is healthy and everybody feels good, so that’s good. The last couple games we didn’t play our game. We didn’t finish our checks because we want to save ourselves I think.

"I think, I hope we are going to play our way in the playoffs."

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