NHL: Capitals star Alex Ovechkin (upper body) to miss third straight game

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin will miss the team’s regular-season finale Friday at the New York Rangers with an upper-body injury, marking three straight games he’s missed ahead of the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs next week.

Ovechkin had been considered a game-time decision for Washington’s Thursday game at the New York Islanders, but did not play. Capitals coach Peter Laviolette did not tip his hand about the severity of Ovechkin’s situation, only telling reporters, “He’s out with an upper-body injury.”

The Capitals (44-25-12, 100 points) have qualified for the playoffs and will face either the Presidents Cup-winning Florida Panthers or the Rangers in their first-round series in the Eastern Conference. If the Capitals beat the Rangers on Friday and the Pittsburgh Penguins (45-25-11, 101 points) lose to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington will overtake the rival Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division and draw the Rangers again in the first round.

Ovechkin was injured Sunday in Washington’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He lost his footing after tripping over the stick of Maple Leafs goaltender Erik Kallgren and slammed into the boards with his left shoulder.

The 36-year-old Russian then sat out two straight losses to the Islanders on Tuesday and Thursday.

A three-time Hart Trophy recipient, Ovechkin leads the team in goals (50) and points (90) while playing in 77 games this season. He is 21 goals behind Hall of Famer Gordie Howe (801) for second all-time in NHL history.

–Field Level Media

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