Washington Capitals superstar forward Alex Ovechkin has been dealing with a lower-body injury since April 22 and then played only 39 seconds before leaving Monday’s win at the New York Rangers.
Per Tom Gulitti of the NHL website, Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said Tuesday that Ovechkin likely won’t play in Wednesday’s matchup at the Rangers but should be good to go when the postseason tournament begins later this month.
“Where it goes through the end of the year, the most important thing is the playoffs and they’re a ways away,” Laviolette explained about Ovechkin’s status. “I still feel we’re in good shape for that. But our level of concern is high to make sure that he’s healthy.”
The Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins are tied atop the NHL East Division standings with 71 points, but Washington will have two games in hand after Pittsburgh faces the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday evening. Both the Flyers and Rangers have been eliminated from the playoffs.
According to ESPN stats, Ovechkin leads the Capitals with 24 goals in 44 games this season. The Athletic’s Scott Burnside wrote last week that playoff teams based in the United States could begin postseason action the weekend of May 15.