Alex Ovechkin Ruled Out for Capitals vs. Rangers with Lower-Body Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2021

VANCOUVER, BC - OCTOBER 26: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals during NHL action against the Vancouver Canucks on October, 26, 2017 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images

Washington Capitals captain and star forward Alex Ovechkin left Monday night's game versus the New York Rangers with a lower-body injury and won't return, the team announced.

Monday marked Ovechkin's first appearance since April 22, as he had been sidelined by a lower-body injury:

Bob Pompeani @KDPomp

Alex Ovechkin missed last four games. He returned tonight but it did not last long. Ovechkin played one shift totaling 39 seconds in the first period before leaving the game.

The 35-year-old remains Washington's most dynamic player, as he entered Monday's action with 24 goals and 18 assists in 43 games.

Though he had his struggles at points in the 2016-17 season—his 33 goals were the fewest he's scored in a non-lockout season, his 3.82 shots per game were the lowest mark of his career, and he was even demoted to the third line during that year's postseason after failing to produce—he opened the 2017-18 season on fire, scoring 13 goals in the team's first 18 games.

A resurgent Ovechkin was a major plus for a Capitals team that would go on to win a first-ever Stanley Cup in 2018. Overall, he notched 49 goals and 38 assists that season, reestablishing himself as one of the game's dominant forces and offensive juggernauts. He built on that in the 2018-19 campaign with 51 goals and 38 assists.

Last year he posted 48 goals and 19 assists in 68 games.

Ovechkin can't be replaced in Washington. His absence will be a tough one for the Capitals to overcome if Monday's injury ends up being serious.