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“I went to the net, he fell down, I cross-checked him, he turned around and give me a good whack on my calves,” Ribeiro said. “But good thing is I don’t have much there, so it didn’t hurt.”

Captain and friend Alex Ovechkin joked about Ribeiro: “You can see if you see his body. He’s not that kind of athlete but he play hard, he finish checks.”

And he finishes goals, too. Early in the season, when Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and others were struggling to produce, Ribeiro kept the Caps from falling even further out of the playoff picture.

Ribeiro’s stats weren’t as impressive late in the year, or through the first four games of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against New York. Before Friday night, he hadn’t scored a game-winning goal of any kind in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

But he came up clutch to put the Caps within one victory of advancing.

“It’s good thing we have him here,” Ovechkin said. “Tonight he just showed up for us, and it’s big.”