Game 4: Last word from Caps-Habs

April, 22, 2010

MONTREAL -- Alex Ovechkin appeared at his postgame press briefing sporting a hard hat that is awarded to the hardest-working player after every Capitals win. The Washington captain had two goals and an assist, but said he didn't think he deserved it.

"I think different guys deserved it," he said.

If it had been up to Ovechkin, he might have awarded the hat to Boyd Gordon, whose play on the crucial short-handed goal by Mike Knuble with 6.3 seconds left in the second period was a game-changer.

"I think it was a pretty big goal," Ovechkin said. "Again, we played great short-handed, and Gordo, what can I say about him; he's a hard-working guy and when he makes a play like this, it means a lot for our team."

Varly's run in Montreal

If the Capitals do wrap up the series Friday night, one player who will be sad to see the last of the Bell Centre this season is netminder Semyon Varlamov. He started the evening with a 3-0-0 record, 1.63 goals-against average and .940 save percentage in Montreal. Then in Game 4, he stopped 36 of 39 overall and 20 of 21 during the second period.

"He's fabulous," said Knuble. "He's come into a situation where he wasn't the starter right away, and instead of sulking and worrying about it, he stayed ready. He's a hard-working guy. He's had a funny year with injuries, probably had a tough time getting in a groove this season, but he's risen to the occasion. Coming in here to play back-to-back games and leaving with wins ... he's a huge, huge part of it."

Too-many-men call

One of the more interesting parts of the game was the penalty called on the Capitals that led to their short-handed goal. For what seemed like a long time, the Capitals played with six skaters before being whistled for too many men on the ice.

"Solid. We tried to get away with it," Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Alexander Semin came to the bench and was waving for Eric Fehr to come on in his place, Boudreau explained.

"Eric went on assuming that Semin was going to come off. But then he just stood there and the puck came to him, so he decided to keep playing, not knowing that Eric had come on the ice," Boudreau said.

The drought is over

Along with scoring the key short-handed goal, the Caps finally registered their first power-play goal of the playoffs. Ovechkin scored on the Caps' second opportunity of the night. The Capitals are now 1-for-19 in the postseason.

"Yeah, that was kind of a relief," Boudreau said. "Media loves to go the 0-for route. Now we're at least 1-for."

Scott Burnside

ESPN Senior Writer



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