Does Alex Ovechkin have to score to play well?

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RALEIGH, N.C. | Alex Ovechkin not being on the ice for one shift (it really was just one shift, though it was a big one) caused a bit of a firestorm. Locally, it was a one-day story, though many watching from farther away from Washington saw it as a bigger deal.

Friday, it seemed to be back to the new normal for Ovechkin: 21 shifts, 20:13, two assists and a plus-1 rating. He didn’t score, he didn’t need to play a ton and he wasn’t the best player on the ice, or even that close to it.

But the Caps left RBC Center with a pretty darn convincing 5-1 victory that included balanced production. And Ovechkin was pleased with his night.

“I had couple chances. I missed a couple real good chances in the second and third,” he said. “All the time, like, I have chance – it was on the power play or in the third period. Sometimes it just not go in.”

Sometimes that happens, Ovechkin added. He’s right.

There were at least two occasions, though, where Ovechkin passed up an open shot – most notably in the first period when he was wide open in the slot. He lamented not doing more with those kinds of opportunities, which are the crux of why he’s such an elite player.

But, asked if he needed to score to feel his game was clicking, Ovechkin answered no.

“No, I feel pretty good about my game. If I don’t have chances, of course I was pissed off and still what I’m doing over there,” Ovechkin said. “But I like how our line play offensively, defensively, especially today.”

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