Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Sergei Gonchar returns for Game 7

WASHINGTON – Pittsburgh defenceman Sergei Gonchar, who missed two games after a knee-to-knee hit from Alex Ovechkin, was back on the ice Wednesday night for the Penguins’ Game 7 victory over Washington in the second-round series.

Wearing a brace, the veteran was back at his customary position running the point on the power play. He got an assist on the game’s first goal, a first-period power-play tally by Sidney Crosby, and logged 15 minutes in the Penguins’ 6-2 close-out victory.

“Obviously I wasn’t 100 per cent, but it was Game 7 so you had to play,” Gonchar said.

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Gonchar was injured in a collision with Ovechkin during the first period of Game 4 on Friday. Ovechkin was given a penalty on the play, but was not further punished by the NHL.

As they shook hands following Wednesday’s game, Ovechkin apologized to his fellow Russian.

“I just tell him I didn’t want to hit him,” Ovechkin said. “I just said ‘Sorry’ and I explained what happened over there. Very good relation. I don’t want to hit a guy to get him injured.”