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Three Stars: Ovechkin, Bradley, Varlamov


1. Alexander Ovechkin, Capitals: Looks like there's going to be another jaw-dropping Ovechkin video on YouTube ... but this time, AO wisely let his hands do the singing. With the Caps looking to build on a 3-0 lead, Mr. Eastern Motors picked up the puck at his own blueline, darted into the Ranger zone, waved a red cape in front of Chris Drury and slid the puck through the legs of Derek Morris before getting tackled by Aaron Voros. Out of the play? Not a chance. Despite lying flat on his stomach -- with the 6-4, 205 Voros pinning him to the ice -- Ovechkin managed to squeak a shot through Henrik Lundqvist'slegs to salt the game away. Highlight of the playoffs? No doubt. It could have been Washington's only goal in an 8-1 loss and it still would have earned him first star.

2. Matt Bradley, Capitals: Any team that has aspirations of going deep needs to have all hands on deck. Everyone needs to step up and make a moment his own, and tonight was Bradley's turn. The author of five goals in the regular season rewarded the revved up Verizon Center crowd with a slick backhander while killing a penalty early in the first, then added an insurance marker from a bad angle just seven minutes later. That one may have been a softie, but for a guy coming off a 21-game playoff scoring drought, it was a thing of beauty.

3. Simeon Varlamov, Capitals: Sometimes its not how many you stop, but when you stop them that makes the difference in a game. Varlamov was credited with just 20 saves on the night but made a couple of sparkling stops on consecutive bids by Nik Antropov and Nikolai Zherdev in the first, then blanked Brandon Dubinsky twice in tight to seal his second shutout of the series. As nice as the result was, the better story for the Caps was that Varlamov looked nothing like the guy that battled the puck throughout Game 3. That bodes well for their chances in the next elimination game ... this one in New York's Madison Square Garden.

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