Ovechkin: Critics ‘can close their mouths’

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Alex Ovechkin has a message for those that doubted him.

Shhh.

“It seems like people who been all over me, they can close their mouths,” Ovechkin told CSN Washington, the day after scoring his league-leading 31st goal in a playoff clinching win over Winnipeg.

“Like I said months ago, if I’m going to have a couple bad games everybody will be all over me again. I just tell myself it doesn’t matter what’s going to happen.”

Ovechkin finished Tuesday’s game — one that gave the Caps their fifth Southeast Division title in six years — with another stellar stat-line: one goal, one assist, six shots on goal, four hits and 17:22 in ice time.

It was the latest in a line of performances that has him gunning for his third Hart Trophy as league MVP and his first since 2009.

Ovechkin now leads the NHL in goals, power play goals (16), shots (214) while sitting fourth in points (53).

He’ll likely garner strong MVP consideration, especially given how his hot play coincided with Washington’s climb from 14th in the Eastern Conference on Mar. 19 to third (granted, by way of winning the weak Southeast Division) yesterday.

The Caps have won 14 of 17 over that stretch and Ovechkin has scored 29 points.

As for how the Great 8 has maintained his focus over that stretch?

“Just don’t listen to nobody — fans, you guys,” he told CSN. “I just have to listen to my teammates and my coach and that’s it.”