Alex Kovalev had a request for the horde of cameras, microphones and notebooks surounding him in the winning dressing room.
"Don’t ask me about Ovechkin," said the Russian sniper, whose 22nd goal capped a 4-0 Canadiens win.
"Talk about our team. We played great."
He had a point. The Canadiens got a solid effort from all four lines, the defence was outstanding and Cristobal Huet was brilliant, earning his 15th career shutout with 35 saves.
Ovechkin – OK, we have to talk about him a little – had four shots. But he was controlled in one-on-one situations by Mike Komisarek and Josh Gorges, both of whom contributed to a team defensive effort.
"I know he’s scored a lot of goals, but we do our job and it doesn’t matter who they have on their team," Kovalev said before he declared a moratorium on Ovechkin assessment.
Kovalev was impressed by Canaadiens’ effort in the second period, which has tended to be a team weakness this season.
"We’re learning from the past," he said. "We had a good second period, played 60 minutes and it paid off."
Kovalev said he may have sustained a broken thumb, but "I still have four fingers left."
Canadiens scored two power-play goals, one shorthanded and another at even strength. Kovalev said the team has taken "a long journey to get to the point where the guys are more confident with the puck."
"Sometimes we have to dump and chase," he added. "But I see a lot more guys who are comfortable, moving the puck around, making passes and making plays.
"When you have to skate hard for 60 minutes, you can get tired annd make mistakes. If you control the puck 60, 70 per cent of the time, it’s definitely a lot easier to play the game."