WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin is getting his ice time in the first period of Game 3, and on one of his seven first-period shifts in particular, he came to play. First, he kicked a loose puck onto his skates and fed a charging Marcus Johansson on a beautiful feed through two defenders ...
... and then, on the same shift, he laid a mean hit on Marc Staal in the offensive zone.
He's arguably the most talented player on the Caps (a title that, not too long ago, was not argued). When he puts in shifts like this, Ovechkin is one of the best players in the world and a reason the Caps should be feared in this postseason. Ovechkin's 7:35 of ice time in the first, for the record, was roughly half of the time he saw in all of Game 2.
Another reason? Braden Holtby. The goaltender had another fine period to start Game 3, and while he wasn't challenged all that much aside from a few shots from beyond the faceoff dots, one quick kick save on this Ruslan Fedotenko shot from 12 feet out was calm, composed and impressive.
The Rangers weren't able to threaten too much in the period, as it seemed the Capitals owned the neutral zone and controlled the tempo. New York did kill a two minute slashing penalty against Staal in the final five minutes of the period.