Alex Ovechkin made some personal history Monday night, and not in a good way. In the 3-2 overtime loss in Game 5 against the New York Rangers, the Washington Capitals captain didn’t register a shot.
That’s just the second time that has happened in his playoff career, and the first time since Game 1 against the Montreal Canadiens in 2010.
“You know, just get more pucks to the net; he tried a few that got blocked. They’re doing a good job blocking too so he’s just got to keep trying to get pucks to the net,” coach Dale Hunter said. “If you keep attempting shots good things will happen.”
On Wednesday Ovechkin explained that the Rangers were putting an emphasis on taking chances away.
“No, I just don’t get the opportunity to take a shot or if I have opportunity they blocked it,” he said. “For me, it’s most important thing I just need one chance to see the puck and see what happen out there and put it in the net.”
Teammates talked about what needs to happen for offensive players when defenses key on them and clamp down.
“Just got to try and work harder and you’ve just got to find a way to get pucks to the net, I think, and maybe go in front of the net and battle harder,” center Nicklas Backstrom said.
Marcus Johansson quipped that NHL defenses don’t usually focus on him, but the 21-year-old forward explained that the Caps need to improve on offense all-around.
“I don’t think I had a shot on net either, yesterday. I have to be better, too. I have to help the team win,” Johansson said. “Whether it’s scoring goals or blocking shots or whatever it is, we have to all do it together. We haven’t done it really enough lately. If we keep doing what we’re doing and doing it a little better, I think we have a really good chance.”
Ovechkin led the NHL in shots his first six seasons and was tied for fifth this year.
“When he is not getting shots, you are not going to score if you don’t shoot the puck,” Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh told reporters Tuesday in New York. “It is a team effort. He has had some goals in this series, but we have kept him in check for the most part and we have to continue to do that here.”