April 17, 2018 / 8:49 PM / 2 days ago

NHL: Capitals' Ovechkin guarantees playoff comeback

(Reuters) - Alexander Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals have had a rough start to the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs but that did not stop the Russian sniper from guaranteeing his team would even their first-round series.

FILE PHOTO: Jan 28, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Metropolitan Division forward Alexander Ovechkin (8) of the Washington Capitals celebrates his goal against the Atlantic Division All-Stars during the 2018 NHL All Star Game at Amalie Arena. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Washington entered the playoffs with high expectations after finishing atop the Metropolitan Division but are suddenly down 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, which shifts to the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the next two games.

“You’re right now in a hard position, but it’s going to be fun when we bounce back and we’re going to tie the series and come back here and play Game Five at home,” Ovechkin told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s Game Three.

The Capitals face a daunting task after dropping a pair of home games in overtime to open the series against a Columbus team that are getting solid goaltending from two-times Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky.

The losses have left the Capitals on the precipice of yet another postseason disappointment that ends short of the Eastern Conference final.

While Ovechkin could very well steer his team back into the series, he will have to overcome less-than-ideal odds from there as all five teams that have lost the first two games of a best-of-seven set in overtime have all gone on to lose the series.

But Ovechkin, who led the NHL with 49 goals in the regular season and has a pair so far in the playoffs, is not bothered by historical statistics and knows that if his team can correct some mistakes there is plenty of hockey left to play.

“It’s frustrating, but again it’s not over yet. It’s just the beginning of a great series,” said Ovechkin. “We’re going to continue to play how we play, and we’ll see what happens.”

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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