PHILADELPHIA -- Alex Ovechkin has selective amnesia.
In other words, he chooses not to remember.
The memory in question concerns Game 5 of the Washington Capitals' first-round series against the Montreal Canadiens at the Verizon Center 12 months ago.
At the time, the Caps had a 3-1 lead in the series.
Just like they do this year against the New York Rangers.
They had a chance to finish off their opponents with a win.
Just like this year.
And they had the opportunity to do it on home ice.
Just like this year.
That's where Ovechkin and his teammates want the comparisons to stop.
In what proved to be the beginning of the end of the Capitals' 2010 Stanley Cup hopes, the visiting Canadiens busted out of the gates in Game 5 and scored twice in the first 10 minutes en route to a win. The Habs would go on to post victories in the next two games and take the series 4-3, leaving the Caps to wonder what might have been.
On Saturday afternoon, the Caps will find themselves in the exact same position when they host the Rangers on home ice. Only this time, they hope the result will be different.
Asked Friday about what happened in that forgettable first period against the Habs one year earlier, Ovechkin played dumb.
"I don't remember nothing," Ovechkin said. "I forget about it.
"(This) is new year, a new series, a new team. I think if you are going remember everything bad, then it is going to be bad for you.
"I think (Saturday) the first 10 minutes is going to be very important for us and them, too."
There were suggestions in Washington that coach Bruce Boudreau might contemplate making his players watch video of that horrifying first period against the Habs.
In the end, Boudreau opted against it. Probably too scary a flick for his young guys to stomach.
"I think they know what happened in Game 5 in the first 10 minutes (a year ago)," Boudreau told reporters at the Caps practice facility in suburban Virginia. "We've talked about it many times during the course of the year.
"I'm not going to show videotape of it."
Perhaps the Rangers did. It wouldn't be such a bad idea.
Meanwhile, all indications are that forward Mike Knuble will miss his second consecutive game.
Knuble is believed to have injured his hand after being hit by a Mike Green shot in Game 3.
Taking his place on the top line alongside Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom will be gritty Brooks Laich, who brings an element of sandpaper to that skilled unit.
"It works, so I don't know why we would have to change it," Ovechkin said.
"(Laich) is a hard-working guy. He's the same like (Knuble). He's good in front of the net and good in the corners. He plays well in the defensive zone so he helps Nicky and me a lot."
Will it be enough to alter history? The first 10 minutes should go a long way to answering that question.