Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin leaves after one shift following 4-game absence

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - APRIL 22:  Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals skates against the New York Islanders during the second period at Nassau Coliseum on April 22, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Steven Ryan/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the regular season winding down, the Washington Capitals refuse to take any risks when it comes to Alexander Ovechkin.

Washington was anxiously awaiting Ovechkin's return, after missing the team's previous four games with what the Capitals deemed as a lower-body injury. Unfortunately, Ovechkin's return was short-lived as he left after playing just one shift, amounting to 39 seconds.

Prior to Monday's contest against the New York Rangers, Ovechkin and teammate John Carlson were listed as game-time decisions. Carlson missed the team's two prior games with a lower-body injury.

There's little that needs to be said about Ovechkin's on-ice impact that you don't already know, but the Capitals' superstar has recorded 24 goals and 42 points in 43 games and remains one of the league's preeminent goal scorers.

It's unclear what caused Ovechkin to leave the game, as he headed to the locker room prior to the team's first power play, so for the time being, one can assume the Capitals are treating it as a precautionary measure. Of course, the situation becomes far more perilous if Ovechkin re-aggravated an injury that forced him out of the lineup during a crucial stretch for the Capitals.

Washington has already clinched its playoff spot but is jockeying for position in the hotly contested East Division, trailing the division-leading Pittsburgh Penguins by two points prior to Monday's games, while the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins remain firmly on its heels.

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