Alex Ovechkin was held without a goal for the sixth straight game.

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Caps winger Tom Wilson moved up to the team’s top trio with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom last game, and those three guys are likely to see some time against Tampa Bay’s top six tonight.

Coach Barry Trotz was concerned as Ovechkin clutched at his left knee and put no weight on his left leg after the borderline hip check from Nazem Kadri before limping down the tunnel late in the first period. But Ovechkin returned to start the second and could laugh it off after the Capitals beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 in Game 5 Friday night to take a 3-2 series lead.

He surpasses Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals this week and has dual-eligible category cog Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars in his sights at the one-quarter mark. Gaudreau is doing his damage alongside usual center Sean Monahan and has put forward Micheal Ferland (LW/RW, 20 percent owned) on the cusp of the top 100 forwards. Gaudreau has a 10-game point streak with seven multipoint games in the span.

“Watching film on them, they’re as electric and dynamic as it gets right now in the NHL,” says Wilson. “We’re going to have a big job, not only at five-on-five, but special teams where they’re good as well.

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The Russian Hockey Federation also said Ovechkin, who had five goals and three assists in 13 playoff games, would not be able to play at the world championships in Europe because of the injury.

“They have five dynamic guys on the power play, and everybody thinks it’s just Ovechkin, but if you cover him, then you’ve got Oshie and Backstrom, Kuznetsov and [defenseman John] Carlson to worry about, so it’s a very difficult lineup to handle,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said Friday before the team headed off to the nation’s capital. “The best thing is not to take any penalties.”

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, a shoo-in for Team Canada if the NHL was going, respects what Ovechkin said but doesn’t believe he would be willing to go to South Korea if there were no official deal.

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The Capitals are their usual soap opera. Backstrom and Ovechkin started the season on different lines and remained there until this week, when coach Barry Trotz reunited them. They produced a goal in the win over the Ottawa Senators. Ovechkin has 14 goals and seven assists on the season; Backstrom has struggled to three goals and 13 assists, with his helper on Ovechkin’s goal on Wednesday night his fourth assist in 14 games.

By the end of the Pittsburgh series, coach Barry Trotz had moved him down to the third line, and Ovechkin finished the playoffs with five goals and three assists in 13 games as he battled knee and hamstring injuries.

Adidas Capitals #8 Alex Ovechkin Red Home Authentic Women's Stitched NHL Jersey
Adidas Capitals #8 Alex Ovechkin Red Home Authentic Women’s Stitched NHL Jersey

In the statement, Ovechkin thanked Capitals owner Ted Leonsis for his support. Leonsis had gone on record saying he would allow Ovechkin and other top players to go to the Olympics if they wanted to, even if it meant missing Capitals games.

Fellow Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov assisted on each of Ovechkin’s first three goals Saturday night, as Washington took a 4-0 lead into the first intermission. Ovechkin added a fourth goal, also assisted by Kuznetsov, in the second period.

Ovechkin crushed Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner on his first shift back, nhl jerseys cheap and Kadri said the Capitals’ captain “was running around a little bit when he came back, so he must have been fine.” Ovechkin took some jabs at Kadri the rest of the night but said he didn’t see the replay to judge whether the hit was dirty.

Wilson shoveled the puck to Nicklas Backstrom, who went back to Wilson just as the trio entered Tampa Bay ice. Wilson fed Alex Ovechkin on the left side, and the Caps captain cranked a one-timer past Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy with just 1:24 remaining in the period.

Ovechkin, who will turn 32 on Sunday, played for Russia in the past three Olympics. Russia has a long history of using its top players in the Olympics, well before the NHL began participating in Nagano, Japan, in 1998. The Soviet Union, and then the Unified Team, won eight of 10 Olympic gold medals from 1956 to 1992.

Zdeno Chara of Slovakia will help anchor Team Europe’s defense.

Orpik blocked Zdeno Chara’s slap shot from the right point with five seconds remaining.

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Chara has certainly been to his fair share of captain’s practices and training camps through his 20 years in the NHL, but he has never lost his fervor for the game and that excitement that each new season brings.

“I love the game. I love everything about it,” smiled Chara. “I love the sacrifice. I love the training. I love everything about it. It’s so magical to me that you can come to an environment that you are always professional, you have to act that way, you have to play that way, you have to be a leader – so many things are so positive, everything about it.”

As the waiting game continues on an NHL decision for next year’s Olympic Games in South Korea, three-time Olympian Zdeno Chara still harbors hope of a solution, even while clearly frustrated with where things stand.

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The Bruins have won four of their past six and eight of their past 12 games. Prior to their loss to the Blues, the Bruins had allowed two or fewer goals in five straight games, including four wins.

Having Chara out of the lineup will put the onus not just on the defensemen, but the rest of the team to keep the opposition off the scoreboard.

“I definitely want to play beyond this season,” Chara told china nhl jerseys on Tuesday. “It’s really hard to put a number on it. Some people do and some people don’t. I just obviously want to keep playing in the NHL beyond this season. I love this game too much. I have made no secrets about it. I want to stay here with the Bruins and continue to play.”

Knowing that the team needed a spark, Zdeno Chara wasted little time showing Cassidy – and his teammates – that the message was received. The captain dropped the gloves with Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson just 40 seconds into the middle period and set the tone for the remainder of the night.

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Former Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara will anchor a blue line that also includes Chara’s Boston Bruins teammate Dennis Seidenberg and veteran Swiss defender Mark Streit. Roman Josi, who has emerged as one of the NHL‘s top defensemen, was also one of five defenders announced by general manager Miroslav Satan on Wednesday. Edmonton’s Andrej Sekera was the fifth member of the blue line corps named.

Boston Bruins #33 Zdeno Chara Black Women's Old Time Heidi NHL Hoodie
Boston Bruins #33 Zdeno Chara Black Women’s Old Time Heidi NHL Hoodie

“Very hard fought game as you could see on the scoreboard,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “It was obviously for most of the game and a lot of battles, a lot of physicality. Not that many pretty plays, some breakdowns, goalies played well.

“We should really focus on how we work in hard in training camp, get to know each other, and have a good preseason, and I think everybody wants to have a good start to the season,” said Chara. “It’s so important to have the good starts and to build on good games and have some consistency.”

“Yeah, I think anyone would be,” Marchand said. “For athletes to get themselves to that level where they can have the opportunity to play in the Olympics and then for someone to take that away from you, I don’t think that’s really fair. Again, that’s a long ways away and there’s more important things right now to focus on, and that’s playing hockey.”

Chara, who played in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 Olympics for his native Slovakia, certainly isn’t alone in his sentiment as players grow increasingly frustrated with the standstill. A league source told ESPN.com Monday that there aren’t any Olympic meetings currently on the docket. The league and Olympic organizers are at odds over covering costs for players, with NHL owners hesitant to break up a season.