RALEIGH, N.C. — Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are looking to defend the Stanley Cup. And they’re not going down without a fight.

Ovechkin fought — and knocked out — Carolina Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov in the first period of Game 3 of the teams’ first-round series on Monday night.

Svechnikov, 19, is the youngest player in the NHL playoffs this season. A native of Barnaul, Russia, Svechnikov has said that he grew up idolizing Ovechkin, his countryman who is 14 years his elder. Svechnikov appeared to provoke Ovechkin, and the two exchanged words before dropping the gloves. Svechnikov got a few jabs in before Ovechkin dropped Svechnikov with three hard rights.

Svechnikov’s head hit the ice on the way down. Svechnikov stayed down on the ice for several minutes before he was helped off by Carolina trainers. He was later ruled out by the Hurricanes to return. Both players received five minutes for fighting.

According to HockeyFights.com, Ovechkin has fought only four times in his NHL career — and not since 2010.

Svechnikov scored two goals and tallied one assist in the Hurricanes’ first two playoff games. Ovechkin won his record eighth Rocket Richard Trophy this season as the league’s top goal scorer. He has one goal and two assists in the Capitals’ first two games these playoffs.

The Hurricanes are hosting their first playoff game in a decade. Washington has a 2-0 series lead, but the Hurricanes led 1-0 at the time of the fight.

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