In this first-round series, anyone who came to watch Alex Ovechkin match up against Zdeno Chara in Game 1 found themselves sticking around to see the Capitals’ star left wing face the other half of Boston’s shut down defensive pairing instead

Ovechkin and Dennis Seidenberg exchanged checks all night long – beginning with a hit Washington’s captain laid on the blueliner just 33 seconds into the contest. But the hit heard around the hockey world came 5 minutes 36 seconds into the second period.

Seidenberg lined up Ovechkin in neutral zone and lowered his shoulder to drive it into the winger’s chest. Ovechkin spotted the oncoming check, though, braced for the hit and pushed back against Seidenberg, sending the two players flying in opposite directions.

“He saw me at the last second,” Seidenberg said. “He’s very solid and I just got – I don’t know. I just tried to hit him. It doesn’t matter who falls at the end, I’ve just got to be in his way so he can’t do anything.”

Said Ovechkin: “I think it was a great battle. He made some big hits, some big hits. So I’m going to enjoy it, actually.”

They weren’t the only two players fired up by the hits that were exchanged. Seeing two opponents thrive with so much intensity in an individual battle can offer a boost to the rest of the two teams as well.

“You build some momentum off that, and that’s Seides’ game. He’s a very physical guy and he definitely let [Ovechkin] know,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. “That’s what playoffs is all about – creating battles and enemies. The way Seides and [Zdeno Chara] played against that line tonight and [Ovechkin] especially was great for us and we’re going to need that if we’re going to keep up with them.”

More on the Capitals:
Game 1: Capitals fall to Bruins in OT
Ovechkin needs to focus on offense
Nothing but praise for Braden Holtby
Photos: Scenes from Game 1 at TD Garden
Interactive: Capitals vs. Bruins shot tracker