The Washington Capitals secured a spot in the playoffs earlier this month and are looking to move up from the second Wild Card spot, but now there's a variable involved that the team wasn't counting on: potentially being without star winger Alex Ovechkin.
During the third period of Sunday's 4-3 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ovechkin was forced to leave after crashing into the boards. The team is saying he has an upper-body injury.
The Capitals star did not return and now his status is uncertain going forward. Here's a look at the play that left Ovi hurt:
Early in the third period, Ovechkin tripped over Maple Leafs goaltender Erik Kallgren stick after missing out on scoring a breakaway goal. On the play, Ovechkin could be seen crashing shoulder first into the boards and remained on the ice for several minutes following the collision.
"I think he skated into my stick and tripped on it, so, it was not my intention to trip him," Kallgren said. "Obviously he was frustrated, but I didn't I mean to trip him. I didn't mean to cause an injury, so I hope he's fine."
"I haven't talked to the trainer yet, so we'll get an evaluation on him," Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette said following Sunday's game, according to ESPN. "We'll get an evaluation and see where he's at."
Ovechkin did get up and skate off the ice under his power. Once arriving to the Washington bench, he immediately went to the locker room to be evaluated.
Entering Monday, the Capitals find themselves in the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference with three games remaining on their regular season schedule. The Capitals were just one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the third playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division, who lost to the Philadelphia Flyers earlier in the day.
The Capitals have two games against the New York Islanders and one against the New York Rangers to finish out the regular season. Now it's unclear if Ovechkin will be able to return prior to the playoffs getting underway.
Ovechkin has had a tremendous season in which he's scored 50 goals for the ninth time in his NHL career. It's with legends Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy.