Don't blame Ovechkin for Capitals' latest playoff failure

Patrick Smith / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Washington Capitals came up short again in spite of - not because of - Alex Ovechkin's postseason play.

Those arguing Ovechkin can't win the Stanley Cup gained more fuel for their narrative after the Capitals were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of their second-round series Tuesday night, but he's hardly to blame for the latest disappointment.

"He did all the right things. He said all the right things. This certainly isn't on him," Capitals forward Justin Williams said postgame, according to Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski.

"It's about us as a team, obviously not … quite … being good enough."

Ovechkin notched a point per game in his 12 playoff contests this spring, including two goals and five assists against the Penguins.

The captain's 62 shots on goal led all playoff skaters - good for 13 more than the next closest player (teammate John Carlson) and eclipsing third-ranked Vladimir Tarasenko by 17, even though the St. Louis Blues sniper has played one more game.

Ovechkin squandered several opportunities to score in Game 6, but still finished with a pair of helpers, six shots, and more than 27 minutes of ice time.

Certainly, he could have converted on more of his chances, but he still finished tied for fourth in both playoff goals and points.

He posted favorable possession numbers in all but three of the 12 postseason contests, according to War-On-Ice, and finished with an even-strength Corsi For rating of 57.4 in the playoffs, per Corsica Hockey.

The Capitals won the Presidents' Trophy with the league's best regular-season record, boast the consensus Vezina Trophy favorite in Braden Holtby, and might have more depth than they've ever had. Still, they failed to emerge from the conference semifinal for the second straight season.

"We lost in the second round. It sucks," Ovechkin said Tuesday night.

"Every year, (there are) lots of expectations. Lots of great players. There's something we're missing. This group of guys can do better. Can go farther than the second round. I think we have the best goalie in the league. All four lines can play well. We just didn't execute when we had a chance to put the puck in the net."

The Capitals qualified for the playoffs in eight of the last nine years, but Washington hasn't advanced past the second round since losing in the Stanley Cup Final in 1998.

Despite that, Ovechkin has 82 points (41 goals and 41 assists) in 84 career postseason games.

Whatever ingredient is missing, it doesn't appear to be the captain.

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Don't blame Ovechkin for Capitals' latest playoff failure
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