Alex Ovechkin 'Good to Go' for Capitals vs. Panthers Game 1 After Upper-Body Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 3, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 24: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Capital One Arena on April 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Washington Capitals coach Peter Laviolette confirmed star forward Alex Ovechkin will be "good to go" for the team's Stanley Cup playoffs opener against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

"Alex will play tonight," Laviolette told reporters. "To be honest, I haven't really noticed anything different. He was a full participant, he wasn't held out of anything and he competed at full-go."

Ovechkin missed Washington's final three games of the regular season because of an upper-body injury.

The 12-time All-Star's importance to the Capitals largely goes without saying. He led the team in goals (50) and points (90), and he has time and again risen to the occasion in the postseason. His 71 playoff goals rank second among active players.

Sportsnet Stats @SNstats

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ALLCAPS?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ALLCAPS</a> Alex Ovechkin has scored 4+ goals in 11 of his 13 career postseasons. Only Wayne Gretzky has scored 4+ goals in more postseasons in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NHL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NHL</a> history (12).

After finally lifting the Stanley Cup in 2018, Washington lost in the first round in three successive seasons.

This year could make it four in a row considering the Panthers' 122 points were the highest in the league. Florida is the odds-on favorite (+275; bet $100 to win $275) at DraftKings Sportsbook to win the Eastern Conference, with the Caps unsurprisingly listed as the biggest underdog (+1400).

Laviolette's squad has a tough road ahead in order to advance to the next round. Having Ovechkin back healthy will at least provide the Caps with a small source of hope that they can pull off the upset.  

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