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Ovie plays down his spectacular goal

by Dan Rosen
WASHINGTON -- Whether he was trying to contain his excitement or simply was just completely aware of the situation, Alex Ovechkin was a bit self-deprecating when he met with the media at the podium after Friday's 4-0 playoff win over the New York Rangers.

Ovechkin might have just scored one of the greatest goals in playoff history (at least in terms of highlight-reel merit) in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, but he used works like "lucky" and "terrible" when asked to describe what happened.

Here it is: First, Ovechkin gets around Chris Drury at the top of the attacking zone. Next, he slides the puck through Derek Morris' skates and as it comes out on the other side, kicks it slightly forward with his left skate. He regains possession, but now he starts to fall down.

No big deal.

Ovechkin, while tumbling to the ice near the blue paint, uses his backhand to beat Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist low to the far side with 29 seconds left to play in the second period, giving the Caps a 4-0 lead.

"It was just lucky bounce on Morris," Ovechkin said with what looked like a smile on his face, though it was tough to tell. "I hit it through him and it went to my skates and my balance was not good. When I went to the net, my backhand is terrible, but it goes in."

Ovechkin may not have been impressed, but his coach was.

"I wish I could have done it," Bruce Boudreau said. "It was pretty nice. I'll give him another shift the next game."

Capitals defenseman Mike Green, who has been Ovechkin's teammate since they entered the NHL together in 2005, admitted he was not surprised by the goal because, well, nothing No. 8 does surprises Green anymore.

"I've seen it for the last four years," Green said. "That kind of topped (the night) off, but he's at the blue line all by himself and if he turns that over it's not a good play. He's one of a few guys that can do that and pull it off."

Ovechkin was more inclined to talk about Matt Bradley, who gave the Caps a 2-0 lead with his first two career playoff goals in the first period. Bradley beat Lundqvist with a high backhander on a shorthanded breakaway at 4:58 and then he scored from a bad angle about 12 inches off the goal line at 12:07.

The goals, Ovechkin said, softened up Lundqvist a bit and allowed the Caps to play confidently with the lead.

"Brads did an unbelievable job, and we felt more comfortable and played well," Ovechkin said. "It was very important, especially shorthanded. He did a great job. He fights, gets dirty and that was a pretty sick call with a backhand to beat Lundqvist."

Ovechkin wouldn't call Game 6 the most important game of his career because he and the Capitals were in the same situation last season against Philadelphia and came away victorious at the Wachovia Center to force a Game 7 back at Verizon Center.

That's obviously their goal now as they head to Game 6 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon.

"We know how to fight, and we know how to play in this situation," Ovechkin said. "That was a pretty good experience for us (last year) and (Friday) we played great, but tomorrow is a new day with new feelings and a new game.

"We love this situation. It's hard, but we love it."

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