The Washington Times - February 21, 2012, 12:12AM

RALEIGH, N.C. | With 6:02 left in the second period, Alex Ovechkin left the ice and went down the tunnel to the tunnel to the visiting locker room at RBC Center. The Washington Capitals went the rest of the period without their captain.

It was equipment issues there,” coach Dale Hunter said. “He was back in the third.”

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Ovechkin said it was “just a skate” but he was noticeably limping after the Caps’ 5-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes when approaching a group of reporters for his interview session. Ovechkin did not talk until at least 20 minutes following the game.

He finished with just 15:43 of ice time, his second lowest total of the season.

Ovechkin skated just five shifts in the third period, though one was only two seconds before a penalty on the Hurricanes’ Tim Brent. His final shift came to an end with 5:45 left.

With 5:37 left, a CSN camera caught Ovechkin sitting on the bench with his head resting on the edge of the boards. The star left wing didn’t let on much of what was going through his mind at the time.

Nothing. I was just like very mad about myself,” Ovechkin said. “That’s all I can say.”