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Ovechkin: "They Just Took Advantage of Our Mistakes"

[After the Capitals' 4-3 loss to the Rangers in the first game of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Sport Express correspondent Slava Malamud interviewed Alexander Ovechkin]

Did you use up too much energy at the start of the game? Did you not have enough energy to pull out a win in the third period?

"No, I felt good today. I just wasn't able to follow through on the opportunities which my teammates gave me. For example, in the third period Backi twice gave me really good passes but I was running off somewhere else. But those are normal game situations. That's just the way it turned out. Well and your emotions always should come pouring out in the first period of the first game. After all, you've waited so long for this moment- o come out on the ice in front of a full stadium and you're full of energy, which has to come out. And then you start to play on class, on experience."

How did they beat you today?

"They followed through on their opportunities. That's it, basically.... Well and some of the goals were questionable. Especially the fourth."

[Translator's note: I struggled to find the least offensive word/words to translate here, which was a one-word description that technically translates as "optional"-- ie. "they didn't have to have happened". In deciding how to translate, I figured that using the word "optional" would have people scratching their heads and "didn't have to have happened" was too wordy, so I settled on "questionable"-- which is slightly critical but not harsh-- which is the tone of the word he used in Russian.]

It seemed like the Rangers specially prepared for your onslaught and responded with targeted attacks.

"I wouldn't say they were targeted. They just took advantage of our mistakes."

You talked with Theodore after the third goal. What did you say to him?

"I gave him some encouragement. I told him ‘No worries, we'll make one now and then we'll win this thing'. We made another, but we didn't win."

It's been a month now since you've played a game that had any significance. How did you get ready for this game?

"The playoffs are the playoffs, there's nowhere to run. You give everything you've got. Of course it's difficult to lose. Last season we played against Philadelphia and we lost. God willing, this season will be different."

Was there an Avery factor in this game?

"No, his style of play doesn't bother us."

What would you like to see in your game in the future?

"I'd like to keep playing just like I'm playing now. Right now I'm just not taking advantage of the opportunities."

So were you moved by the excitement today?

"Of course. We've waited a month already for the playoffs, and today we had a full stadium, everyone was yelling... It just turned out that they won. Tomorrow we'll win. No need to get down in the dumps about it."

Did Kozlov keep the puck? After all this was his first playoff goal.

"Nobody thought about that. In the playoffs such things don't have any significance."