The Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins played what amounted to a meaningless game on Tuesday. Neither team could improve their position in the standings and both teams were already locked into a first-round matchup against each other in the postseason. The Bruins scratched 16 veterans and iced a bunch of players from their AHL team while the Capitals used the game as a tuneup for the playoffs.
The Caps wound up winning 2-1 via a buzzer beater by Michael Raffl, but the most important storyline coming out of the game was Alex Ovechkin’s return from a lower-body injury.
Ovechkin, who had missed seven of the last eight games, skated 19 minutes against Boston. Afterward in the Zoom Room, he dished on where he’s at physically.
“I feel great,” Ovechkin said. “Trainers all the staff do a great job. Was a battle through it. I tried to play in New York, but I didn’t feel comfortable and, obviously, we don’t want to make a risk and that was a smart move. We was talking with Lavy and [head athletic trainer Jason Serbus], they wanted to be 100 percent. Right now, I am 100 percent. I don’t feel any soreness. I feel comfortable out there – that’s the most important thing. At this time of year, you have to be smart and think about future – not only regular season.”
Ovechkin had the energy of a rambunctious puppy, registering a team-high eight shot attempts and four shots on goal. He also had four hits and a takeaway.
“I thought he was good,” Laviolette said. “I think it was really good for him to get out and play a game. He hasn’t played in a bit here. When he was cleared and deemed healthy, the conversation switched to what was more important: the feel of the game and touching the puck and making plays or waiting. I think the consensus from everybody, especially Alex, was that he wanted to get out there and play and get a feel for it. I thought it was good he got some work.
“There was really no restrictions,” Laviolette added. “He had three hard days on the ice. There was nothing going on. It’s been a long process and we tried to be patient with it, but at some point, he’s gotta worry about his game as well.”
After passing Tuesday’s test with flying colors, Ovechkin is looking forward to Saturday where things get serious.
“It doesn’t matter who you gonna play in the playoffs,” Ovechkin said. “Obviously, it’s gonna be a battle. Two good teams play against each other. It’s going to be an interesting series. I think both teams can’t wait when it starts. Season is over and now it’s time to play real hockey.”
Screenshot courtesy of NBC Sports Washington
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