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Capitals breakdown: Alex Ovechkin

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Capitals breakdown: Alex Ovechkin

CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: Alex Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin
Position: Left Wing
Age: 26
HtWt: 6-3, 230
Games: 78
Goals: 38
Assists: 27
Points: 65
Penalty Minutes: 26
Plus-Minus: Minus-8
Average Ice Time: 19:48
Contract Status: 9 years remaining on 13-year, 124 million contract 9.538 million cap hit in 2012-13

Strengths: Dont believe all you hear about Ovechkin no longer being a dominant offensive force in the NHL. Every opposing teams game plan is centered around stopping Ovechkin and he is still one of the hardest hitting and hardest shooting players in the game. Ovechkin plays as hard as anyone on the ice and can change a games momentum with one shift.

Weaknesses: Ovechkins point totals have fallen dramatically in the last two years, from 109 in 2009-10 to just 65 last season. The biggest reason is that he has become too predictable. Opposing defensemen know Ovechkin likes to shoot from the top of the left circle and theyve taken that shot away with quick poke checks and blocks. Ovechkin recorded a career-low 303 shots on goal and finished fifth in the NHL in that category, the first time in his career he has not led the league. Ovechkin also needs to play better positional hockey in the defensive end and that means getting back quickly after the puck is lost in the offensive zone. If Ovechkins defense improves, his ice time will increase.

Memorable Moment on the ice: On May 9, two nights after failing to record a shot for just the second time in his playoff career, Ovechkin set the tone early in Game 6 against the Rangers when he fired a blistering one-timer past Henrik Lundqvists catching glove for a 1-0 lead. Jason Chimera later made it 2-0 and the Capitals hung on for a 2-1 victory that forced a Game 7 in New York. It proved to be Ovechkins last goal and the Capitals final win of the 2011-12 season. We knew we could beat them, said Ovechkin, who led the Caps with five playoff goals. It was very intense.

Memorable Moment off the ice: Can anyone forget the angry words Ovechkin had for Bruce Boudreau on the night of Nov. 1, after Ovechkin was benched for the final 62 seconds of a game the Caps were trailing by a goal? As Ovechkin took his seat on the bench he appeared to call Boudreau a fat something or other. Boudreaus daring tactic paid off when Nicklas Backstrom scored to send the game into overtime and again in overtime for a 5-4 win over the Ducks. I thought other guys were better than him and I thought there was just a chance that other guys might score the goal, said Boudreau, who was fired 27 days later.. Ive got to put out the guys that I think are going to score the goal and 99 percent of the time Alex is the guy I think is going to score the goal. I just didnt think Alex was going to score the goal at that time tonight. You go with your gut feeling, thinking that line is going pretty good and I got lucky. Ovechkin said it was the first time he had been benched since he was 14 years old, but it wouldnt be the last. Dale Hunter benched him for long stretches in playoff games in which the Capitals held a lead.

2012-13 Expectations: Did anyone ever think there would come a day when 40 goals and 80 points would be considered reasonable expectations for Ovechkin, who hit the 50-goal and 100-point mark four times in his first five years? If the Capitals next coaching staff can get Ovechkin to play better in his own zone, they could live with him producing 80 points along with a plus-15 or better rating. But ultimately, Ovechkins success will be determined by how far the Capitals go in the playoffs every spring. So far, hes at two rounds and holding.

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NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Power Rankings: The West is set while the Caps still have work to do

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USA TODAY Sports

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Power Rankings: The West is set while the Caps still have work to do

There are only two series left in the first round that have yet to be decided. The Caps just so happen to be playing in one of those series.

After falling into a 0-2 hole to start, Washington has rattled off three straight wins and now sits just one away from putting away the Columbus Blue Jackets and advancing to the second round.

Should the Capitals advance, they will play the Pittsburgh Penguins for the third consecutive season.

<<NHL POWER RANKINGS: STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS>>

The Penguins ended their series against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday in Game 6. Jake Guentzel scored four goals in the effort proving once and for all that yes, goaltending is important in the playoffs. Head coach Mike Sullivan has still yet to lose a playoff series as the head coach of Pittsburgh as he led the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons.

In the Atlantic, the Tampa Bay Lightning await the winner of the Boston Bruins - Toronto Maple Leafs series after dispatching the New Jersey Devils in five games. After a strong regular season, the Maple Leafs looked poised to take the next step, but Auston Matthews has only two points in five games and Toronto faces elimination at the hands of the Bruins Monday in Game 5.

<<NHL POWER RANKINGS: STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS>>

All four series in the West, meanwhile, have already been decided. Both the Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks managed four-game sweeps in the first round and will face one another in the second  The miraculous season of the Golden Knights continues and it would be hard to argue at this point that they are not legitimate Stanly Cup contenders considering all they have accomplished in both the regular season and the playoffs.

Wins by the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets now sets up a second-round battle between the top two teams in the league from the regular season.

<<NHL POWER RANKINGS: STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS>>

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Game 6 Capitals at Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 6 Capitals at Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

After three straight wins, the Caps now sit just one win away from closing out the Columbus Blue Jackets. They will get their shot to finish the series Monday in Game 6.

Nicklas Backstrom was the hero in Game 5 for Washington with three points including the overtime winner. Who will step up in Game 6? The Caps will need to make sure it's not Artemi Panarin who has been held without a point in two straight games. Washington will also need to make sure their penalty kill stays hot as they have killed off 13 straight power plays for the Blue Jackets.

The Pittsburgh Penguins await the winner of this series after closing out the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. Will the Caps close out Columbus and set up the rematch?

What: Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Round 1, Game 6

Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 6 will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 6 on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

The Capitals take on the Blue Jackets in Game 6 on Monday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Columbus. Washington currently leads the series 3-2.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME ON?

Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 6 will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:30 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Blue Jackets
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

Capitals-Blue Jackets Game 6, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

Here are the Caps' projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly- Lars Eller - Devante Smith-Pelly
Jakub Vrana -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Scratches: Travis Boyd, Andre Burakovsky (upper-body), Shane Gerisch, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

SEE THE CAPITALS VS. BLUE JACKETS FULL SERIES SCHEDULE HERE

CAPITALS SCHEDULE