No Shot For Ovechkin

Caps star forward kept off the board

Josh Rowntree
May 03, 2018 - 11:32 pm
Alex Ovechkin

Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports

Washington captain Alex Ovechkin was arguably the best player on the ice in the first three games of his team’s Eastern Conference semifinal against Pittsburgh.

But Ovechkin was held without a shot in the Penguins’ 3-1 Game 4 win Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena. The victory tied series at 2-2 as it shifts back to Washington.

In the series, Ovechkin has five points, including the game-winning goal in Game 2. So, holding one of the game’s all-time greatest scorers without a shot on goal for the first time since February 17 seems quite the accomplishment for the Pittsburgh defense.

“He’s dangerous and obviously he’s a key guy,” Pittsburgh defenseman Brian Dumoulin said. “We did a great job of staying out of the box in the third period. We have to limit his chances as much as we can. In any game, all it takes is one little chance, one little opportunity and he can score.”

Ovechkin’s cold night could have something to do with the absence of his line’s other winger, Tom Wilson, who was serving the first of his three-game suspension for his Game 3 hit on Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese.

“Obviously, Tom’s a unique player,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said. “But, I thought that line was going head-to-head pretty well.”

Ovechkin’s center, Evgeny Kuznetsov, did rack up five shots and had an assist on the Capitals’ only goal, which came on the power play. Devante Smith-Pelly, who took Wilson’s spot, also did not record a shot on goal.

“They replaced him with a player that brings a lot of speed and a lot of energy in Smith-Pelly,” Penguins defenseman Kris Letang said. “I think guys did a good job of blocking shots, so I think it made it harder on their forwards.”

It is just the third time all season and the third time in his playoff career that Ovechkin has failed to record a shot on net.  

“I think we just didn’t give up the amount of odd-man rushes that we’ve given up in the first couple of games,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “It’s something that we’ve been watching a lot of film on the last couple of games. I thought our guys did a better job tonight.”

Trotz, however, reinforced his unconcerned stance postgame, not acknowledging any adjustments on Ovechkin he saw from Pittsburgh.

“I don’t know if they’ve done anything differently,” he said. “Trust me, he will get his shots.”

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