ARLINGTON, Va. -- Alex Ovechkin remembers what it's like to be down 3-1 in a series, so he thinks he knows exactly how the Montreal Canadiens will come out in Game 5 tonight at Verizon Center.
Dogged. Determined. Desperate.
The Washington Capitals' captain also remembers how Philadelphia two years ago and the New York Rangers last year were unable to match his team's push in Game 5 and that's how the series turned. Washington eventually lost to the Flyers in seven, but beat the Rangers in seven.
Ovechkin talked a lot about what he expects tonight from the Canadiens and his own team during his five-minute session with the media this morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Here is a portion of what he had to say:
"When you are losing 3-1, you think, 'Jesus, why did this happen to our team?' We talked to the guys and they didn't want to go on vacation, or go home. They wanted to play. This is a situation where everybody has to be ready for a fight." -- Alex Ovechkin
"In playoffs you always want to win. It doesn't matter what score you win the series by, you just fight. The last two years it was a pretty good experience for us, but this year we don't want to be in that situation, losing 3-1."
Q: When you see teams like Philadelphia last night that is moving on and other teams on the verge, does it create a sense of urgency knowing these other teams are starting to rest?
"When you win the series of course you have more time to rest, but I think for us it doesn't matter who wins or not in other series. We have to watch ourselves. We just watched some highlights from last night and we'll be ready for tonight. Everybody knows how important the game is tonight and if we're going to win it's going to be pretty good for us. We're going to be rested and have more time to recover."
Q: What did you take from your experiences of being down 3-1 the last two years?
"When you are losing 3-1, you think, 'Jesus, why did this happen to our team?' We talked to the guys and they didn't want to go on vacation, or go home. They wanted to play. This is a situation where everybody has to be ready for a fight."
Q: Does the way you had to scratch and claw when you were down 3-1 come into your mind tonight when you think about what to expect from the Canadiens?
"The first 10 minutes is going to be very important. I think they're going to push us pretty hard and try to score goals, and if they score it'll be mentally good for them. We have to push back and play our game."
Q: Have you guys played your best in the series yet?
"We have to play our best game every night, but how I have said before, everybody has to improve every night. Last game some guys played good, but now they have to play better. You don't have to be satisfied with one game."
Q: Considering some of the weird penalties the Canadiens have taken, do you think you're in their heads?
"I think it's just emotional. When you play with your home crowd and you're going to lose it's going to be a little bit frustrating. It happens. It's emotions. It's the playoffs."
Q: It's Jaroslav Halak in net tonight. Does the team prepare differently for him than it did for Carey Price?
"No, we have to play the same and get traffic in front of the net. Like I said a couple of games ago, he leaves lots of rebounds. Guys like Knubs (Mike Knuble), Gordo (Boyd Gordon), Chimer (Jason Chimera) and Brads (Matt Bradley), they have had pretty good chances to score goals."
Q: The way you guys have scored against Halak, is the seed of doubt planted in his mind?
"We'll see tonight. You never know what is going to happen."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl