WASHINGTON, D.C. — When asked about Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and his impact in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs so far, T.J. Oshie stumbled upon a new adjective to describe the Great 8.
So far in the first-round series against the Florida Panthers, Ovechkin hasn’t missed a beat after an upper-body injury held him out of the final games of the regular season. He’s carried over one of the best years of his career straight into the postseason, and his play so far has sparked his teammates to boot as the Capitals have taken a 2-1 series lead over the top-seeded Panthers.
“If the big man is hitting, and I guess everyone has got less games than him, less experience, less… GOAT-ness. So if the big man is hitting, you better be hitting, too,” Oshie laughed. “He’s going to drag everyone else along with him. He wears the ‘C’ for a reason. He leads us into battle when he’s going hard and he’s playing physical, that just bleeds through the rest of the team.”
Ovechkin has dished a goal and three assists through the first three games en route to a 2-1 series lead for the Capitals. Not only does he have at least a point in all three straight games, but he has 16 hits so far this series and has sparked his teammates with his energy and physicality. The 36-year-old now has 72 goals and 138 points over 144 career playoff games.
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While head coach Peter Laviolette continues to be impressed with Ovi’s production, he also said that Ovechkin’s physicality brings a lot to the table. It’s especially important for Washington, who is currently trying to fill Tom Wilson’s void as No. 43 remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
“Everybody’s got to ante up [without Wilson],” Laviolette said. “I thought O… his physicality for a guy who scores goals and is going to go down as one of the greats of all time, his physical play is always evident and needed.”
As Washington prepares for Game 4 at home, the team is eager to keep the momentum going and not lose track of the main goal. And with a 3-1 series lead on the line, Ovechkin will be an X-Factor again.