Alex Ovechkin: I have to be better

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russia, gets tripped up next to Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Oliver Bjorkstrand (28) during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL first-round hockey playoff series Thursday, April 12, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

ARLINGTON, Va. — If the Washington Capitals are to make a deep postseason run, they will need more from Alex Ovechkin than he showed in Game 1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Ovechkin conceded this morning that he wasn’t his best in Game 1, and that he has another level he could hit as the series continues tonight with Game 2 (7:30 p.m.; WFED 1500AM).

“Obviously, I have to be better,” said Ovechkin, who had four shots on goal in 25:42 of ice time, but failed to register a point.

“I think our line has to be better, for sure, 5-on-5. I think we played very well on the 5-on-4, but 5-on-5 I don’t think we created enough chances. We didn’t play our game, and we understand that and going against these guys, our line has to be more dominant.”

Ovechkin led the NHL with 49 goals and had a team-high 87 points in 82 games during the regular season. Throughout the year, teammates and coaches lauded him for his improved play at even-strength.

Ovechkin ranked second in the league with 32 even-strength goals this season, exactly twice as many as he recorded in 2016-17. According to head coach Barry Trotz, a greater emphasis on Ovechkin’s part on speed and agility contributed to greater production at even-strength.

Trotz would like to see more of the same moving forward in the postseason and agrees that Ovechkin needs to be better than he showed in Game 1.

“I didn’t think he had a big impact on the game,” Trotz said. “And [Ovechkin] is a top player for us, so he has to have impact, and I don’t think he had enough impact. We actually were talking about that, and he felt that he can impact the game a lot more. When he does, you know the results.

“To me, when he is skating and really moving, then he is always dangerous. He is dangerous physically, he is dangerous offensively and he has a bigger impact, so just getting the legs moving and having a little more impact on the game.”

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