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Ovechkin takes the hit for Caps’ loss to Flyers
“I try and make a play in the offensive zone and it cost us a goal. It was my mistake,” Ovechkin said. “It’s tough loss for us, I think. My mistake cost us two points, and it cost us the game.”
But the postgame conversation centered more on the 6:39 that Ovechkin didn’t play after Eric Wellwood’s goal. Both he and coach Dale Hunter denied that it was a benching, as the captain pointed out that Jaromir Jagr being on the ice led to the Caps trying to match with Brooks Laich’s line.
“I definitely was matching lines. It was one of those things that it wasn’t the right match,” Hunter said. “I didn’t want him against Jagr and Jagr’s line and we had the Brooksie line against them.”
“Guys, it’s not a benching. It was, maybe he missed a shift. Guys, I was matching lines,” Hunter said. “So he played and he played a lot in the third and he had his chances and the goalie stood tall.”
It was curious that Jay Beagle took a shift in Ovechkin’s place, but even that was downplayed.
“No, it was just one time because faceoff was in our zone and Dale just put him,” Ovechkin said. “It was one minute, two minutes, I think, two minutes left in the second period and they put again Jagr against probably our line so that’s why he put Beags on me.”
“Just don’t turn it over. Be careful what you do with the puck,” the Caps’ coach recalled. “Make sure you look before you pass.”
The goal occurred at the 7:51 mark of the second, and Ovechkin took just one shift the remainder of the period. He seemed to wake up in the third period.
“People make mistakes out there; it’s what you do after,” Hunter said. “And after, in the third period, he had his chances and the goalie was good tonight.”
During a season that started with so much talk about accountability, players didn’t want to speak for Hunter and his methods but made it clear that poor play can’t be excused.
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