- The Washington Times
Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Alex Ovechkin has never missed a playoff game in his career. The first time won’t be Tuesday night.

According to multiple reports, Capitals coach Peter Laviolette confirmed Tuesday afternoon what everyone has assumed for days: Ovechkin will not sit out Game 1 against the Florida Panthers due to his upper-body injury. 

Ovechkin missed the final three games of the regular season after suffering an upper-body injury against the Maple Leafs on April 24. He tripped over Toronto goaltender Erik Kallgren’s stick and crashed into the boards. His left shoulder was the first part of his body to make contact with the boards, causing him to lie on the ice in pain for a brief moment. 

Ovechkin, 36, has missed only 47 regular-season games in his career since debuting in 2005. 

In other news from Laviolette’s press availability Tuesday afternoon, Vitek Vanecek will start in goal over Ilya Samsonov. After an 82-game season, both goaltenders showed flashes and had slumps. Neither was able to take the job by the reins, forcing Laviolette to take it one game at a time.

But Vanecek will get the first crack against the high-scoring Panthers, who won the Presidents Cup with an NHL-best 58-18-6 record. The Capitals (44-26-12), the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, ended the regular season on a four-game losing streak. 

• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at jmeyer@washingtontimes.com.

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