You made 84 (40+44) points in 73 games, reaching the 40 goal mark. How do you feel about that?
"I really wanted to make the 40th goal. This is an achievement level that should be pursued. Plus, I made my 300th career point."
Washington became the first team in the history of the NHL to have two Russian players make 40 goals in a season. You won the President's Trophy for being the best team in the regular season. Does the burden of responsibility weigh on you?
"Not at all. We go out on the ice and don't think about anything like that. The season ended and that's how it turned out. But it turned out surprisingly well. Right now I'm talking with you and then going to a restaurant for a team dinner. It's a sin to not pay attention to such things."
Will it be a big party?
"No, we'll just sit and eat and talk. The playoffs are starting already on Thursday."
What do you think of the Canadiens?
"They have a good goaltender. And playing in Montreal is cool. They are crazy about hockey. I like that... I know that we aren't going into any of these series overly confident. In the playoffs anyone can surprise you."
This will be aggressive, powerful hockey.
"On the contrary, I think the playoffs will start out with cautious hockey. Any mistake will be costly. But if someone decides to play against us from a position of power-we don't have anything to fear. Look how many big guys we have in Washington. If we were small it would be a different matter. And we also have experience. This is our third playoff. We'll be approaching these games with a little different attitude."
In the last two years your first rounds went all the way to seven games.
"It's best not to do that. We need to get through the first round as quickly as possible. We need win quickly to conserve strength. The playoffs are long, and your strength will run out at some point."