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[Originally posted May 11, 2017]

This picture of Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin in a defensive trailing position — unable to stop the first goal scored in the decisive seventh game last night by Bryan Rust — says it all. When the chips have been down in the key playoff situations, the Capitals have been unable to get the job done. Ovechkin was a negative factor on the critical second clinching goal as well — failing to clear the puck with a weak one-handed swipe where he needed to drive aggressively to the puck and get it out of the zone with a forceful two-handed stab. Where his counterpart Crosby seems to shine in these critical games, Ovechkin seems mired in his reputation as “The Great 8” who doesn’t always look great in these key playoff moments. The best scoring chance for the Capitals was a shot by Ovechkin that somehow Fleury turned aside with the upper shaft of his stick. Overall it seemed like the Capitals were the better team. But when it came to lucky bounces and character and toughness . . . somehow the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins found a way to move on to the next round. Ugh!!