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Ovi absent from scoresheet in Game 1

by Dan Rosen
WASHINGTON -- Bruce Boudreau didn't even try to sugarcoat the obvious.

When asked about Alex Ovechkin's performance in Game 1 Thursday night at Verizon Center, the Washington Capitals coach was as blunt as he has been all season.

"He didn't play good," Boudreau said. "They gapped real well on him, but I don't think Alex played very well."

Ovechkin was not only held without a point in the 3-2 overtime loss, but he was held without a shot on goal for only the second time this season. The last time that happened was Jan. 19 against Detroit, but at least the Capitals won that game, 3-2.

Even more stunning, the Capitals had 47 shots Thursday and more than six minutes of power-play time, so it wasn't like they were starving for offense.

"When you get almost 50 shots on goal and Ovechkin doesn't get any and you have four power plays, there is something (wrong)," Boudreau said. "They took him away pretty good, but I just didn't think he was very good tonight."

Ovechkin, who led the League with 368 shots on goal this season, including 24 in four games against the Canadiens, was just as blunt as his coach. Except, Ovechkin talked about his entire line, including Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble.

The latter two combined on a go-ahead goal 47 seconds into the third period, but Ovechkin didn't think the trio was good enough -- even though Knuble had seven shots and Backstrom six. Ovechkin took eight shots, but five were blocked and he missed on three.

"I think our line didn't play in their zone at all," Ovechkin said. "We had a couple of chances and we score one, but still we didn't play our game like we want to. I think they just didn't give us room. They put two guys in front of me and two guys in front of Backy. We just have to talk to each other and talk about what we have to do better."

Ovechkin credited the Canadiens' defense for limiting his line's in-zone time.

"If we had a chance to play in the zone and they got the puck they just put the puck in the neutral zone and we had to go back," Ovechkin said. "I don't know. Maybe we just have to play simple. Maybe we have to play more close to each other. I don't know. We're going to think about it, watch the game and make some changes."

The Canadiens expect Ovechkin to come out firing in Game 2 Saturday. They expect him to come out mad.

"That's a great thing for us if he doesn't get a shot; I wouldn't expect that to continue all series," Habs forward Mike Cammalleri said. "A player like him is going to get his shots."

"Saturday is the next game and he's probably going to be shooting even more," added goalie Jaroslav Halak, who made 45 saves Thursday. "He's a great player and he can shoot the puck, but we need to do the same thing we did tonight (against him)."

That means the Canadiens need to play just as tight on No. 8 and his linemates.

Can they have a repeat performance?

"It's tough to do because that's when they're at their best is when they have the puck in the offensive zone, so it's a very difficult task," Cammalleri said. "What it really takes is five players on the other team trying to read and react on the same page. If you do that you have a chance. If you start doing each other's jobs or get out of position at all one of those guys is going to pick you apart."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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