ovechkin_posterHow in the world are the Boston Bruins going to stop this guy? Well, for now, the exploits of Washington superstar Alexander Ovechkin are the least of the Bruins’ problems heading toward Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow night. The Pittsburgh Penguins (unfortunately for them) are the ones trying to slow down Alexander the Great.

Last night, the marquee matchup between Ovechkin and Penguins franchise player Sidney Crosby hit a crescendo in such exciting fashion that commissioner Gary Bettman and his television people probably thought it was already Christmas. When the dust, and the hats, settled, Ovechkin’s three-goal performance had led the Caps past the Penguins, 4-3, in Game 2 of their conference semifinal series.

It’s hard to believe that any NHL team would leave Ovechkin wide-open at any time on the ice, but the Penguins did twice — at least two times that he made them pay. So while Crosby was dispelling any notions that he can’t score goals with a hat trick of his own, Ovechkin was doing him one better and also leading his team to a 2-0 series lead. Goaltender Simeon Varlamov helped the cause again as well.

But I ask the question again, how do you stop this guy? Obviously, it’s tougher on the road, but the Penguins have to do a better job of matching up against him. Whoever their best defensive defenseman is, he’s got to dash onto the sheet every time No. 8 in red and white jumps over the boards. And if Jordan Staal, Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke are still a trio by Game 3, they have to be put on permanent Ovechkin duty.

This series seems far from over even with the Caps up 2-0. The defending Eastern Conference champs have been left for dead before and risen to the occasion. From the Bruins’ perspective, obviously, the longer the better for these two top-notch teams — and if Crosby can start to get the better of Ovechkin at the Igloo this thing will go close to the distance.