NEW YORK Alex Ovechkin knows that if the Capitals are going to come back to beat the New York Rangers in their best-of-seven playoff series hell need to start finding the back of the net.
Ovechkin attempted five shots in Saturdays series-opening 3-1 loss to the Rangers but only one found its way to Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who turned aside 17 of the 18 shots he faced.
I have to find a way, first of all, to have the puck, Ovechkin said, and to find a lane to shoot it.
The Rangers pride themselves in blocking shots and they got in the way of 15 of them in Game 1, padding their league-leading playoff total to 170.
Despite having speedster Jason Chimera on the other wing in Game 1 Ovechkin said he was unable to generate any speed through the neutral zone. And without speed, Ovechkin becomes just another player.
If I want to have scoring opportunities they have to give me the puck at full speed in the neutral zone because in the offensive zone its harder because they have Dan Girardi and another guy Ryan McDonagh on me.
On Sunday Capitals coach Dale Hunter replaced Chimera with Troy Brouwer, who played with Ovechkin and Brooks Laich for most of the first-round series against the Bruins. Brouwer said the Rangers top shut-down pairing of Girardi and McDonagh is not as "towering or as physical" as Bostons Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, but can be just as frustrating to play against.
They play a tough game and log a lot of minutes, Brouwer said. Theyve been playing top players all year long.
Ovechkin says the Capitals also need to make some tweaks on their power play, which looked stagnant while going 0-for-4 on Saturday, including a 33-second stretch of 5-on-3 in the second period.
They love to block shots, Ovechkin said. Maybe if we fake it and they go down on one knee or their whole body we can get the puck to an open guy. On the 5-on-3 I had two opportunities to shoot the puck. The one opportunity there was an open corner and I just missed it.
Boyle nears return: The Rangers appear to be close to getting 6-foot-7, 244-pound center Brian Boyle back in the lineup. Boyle practiced with the team on Sunday after missing the past three games with a concussion.
Boyle had three goals in five playoff games against the Ottawa Senators before leaving the lineup. He said he is progressing nicely but would not give a timetable on his return.
Meanwhile, center Brandon Dubinsky was seen on crutches Sunday, making his return to the lineup doubtful.
Taunting Ovi: Say this about the fans in New York: they find clever ways to taunt opponents. Against the Senators, Rangers fans waited until 11 minutes remained in each period before counting down to chants of AlfieAlfie. Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson wears No. 11.
Against the Capitals on Saturday fans waited until 8 minutes remained on the clock before counting down to chants of Ovi Sucks. Some other fans chanted Ovi-Rated.
I didnt know when, Ovechkin said with a smile, but I hear Ovi Suck. Thats good