WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin finished Game 2 Saturday night with a goal and three assists. He added six shots on goal, eight hits and closed with a plus-3 rating. And, he did it all in a tidy 20 minutes and 22 seconds -- not a lot of ice time for the Capitals' captain.
Yes, Ovechkin answered the bell in a big way to help lift the Capitals to a thrilling 6-5 overtime win at Verizon Center that knotted their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with the Canadiens at 1-1 before it shifts to Montreal for Game 3 Monday.
Ovechkin's night was so big, in fact, that the Caps' crack P.R. staff made the right move by bringing him to the press conference podium alongside OT hero Nicklas Backstrom, who completed his hat trick with the winner just 31 seconds into the extra session.
Had Ovechkin met the media at his stall inside the Caps' dressing room, it would have been a gong show with people falling over each other trying to hear what the soft-spoken Russian had to say about his night.
Instead, we all got to hear Ovechkin loud and clear at the podium. Here is what he had to say:
Q: Did you find the power tonight that you said you didn't have the other night?
Ovechkin: "Yeah, I feel pretty good today, especially in the first period. I wanted to get into the game, make some hits and make some shots. I think I played not bad today."
Q: What did you say to the team, in particular before overtime, to help get everyone on the same page and riled up?
Ovechkin: "Just keep pushing because in the third period I think we dominated them. We got pucks deep and I think our forecheck was good today, especially in the third. I said just keep pushing and we're going to win this game."
Q: It seemed like the game opened up for you guys in the third and you got a little more space. What do you think was the cause for that?
Ovechkin: "We just had more power than the last game, especially in our line. We moved our legs, finished checks and shoot the puck. You can see how Backy scored his first goal. He just shot the puck and I was in front of the net and it went in. We just have to shoot the puck whenever if we want to score."
Q: What have you guys learned about Montreal, about this series, about the playoffs that you didn't know three or four days ago?
Ovechkin: "You know, it's the playoffs and you have to know everything about what they can do, from the goalie to the defensemen to the forwards -- but we just have to play our game. If we're going to play our game, finish checks, shoot the puck and go to the net, we're going to win. If we're going to play the same way we played in the third period, then we're going to be successful."
Q: You came on and during your very first shift you knocked down two or three Canadiens. Was that your new strategy for this game?
Ovechkin: "Strategy? To destroy people? No, my job is to score goals and if I have a chance to hit somebody I'm going to hit him. It was good mentally for me when it was (Marc-Andre) Bergeron, my first hit. He's not that strong of a guy, and it was mentally good for me."
Q: (Semyon Varlamov) said in between periods that Jose was giving him some tips. Is there anything you said to him as team captain to make sure he was focused?
Ovechkin: "I just tell him, 'It's OK, we're going to win this game.' I said, 'Varly, just make some saves and keep us in the game and we're going to win.' Last game our line didn't play well. This game Jose didn't feel good. Different guys stepped up. Varly goes in and plays unbelievable I think. It's mentally good for us to know that if someone doesn't feel well or someone gets hurt different guys step up. It means team."
Q: By going to the net the way you guys did, especially in the third period, did you guys discover a way to beat Jaroslav Halak?
Ovechkin: "Yeah. We watch video and he leaves lots of rebounds and our coach tells us just go to the net and find some rebounds. You have to do something, especially me. I like to shoot the puck, but they play so tight on me and I don't have lots of time and space to shoot the puck -- so I just decided to go to the net and find some rebounds. It worked today, but that's it. Tomorrow is a new day and Monday is a new game."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl