Alex Ovechkin holds his head after being high sticked in Belleville, Ontario, Saturday. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Alex Ovechkin had quite the scare early in the Capitals’ preseason opener Saturday, when Winnipeg prospect Ben Chiarot’s stick clipped him and raked across his face.

Ovechkin is sporting a scrape from his lip, up the side of his face and over to his left eye and eyebrow. Luckily, that’s all the damage that was done and the star winger is grateful to have avoided any more significant harm.

“Stick hit my lip first and then go up. [Chiarot] actually made good stuff, he dropped the stick right away he don’t hold it. If he’s still holding it, it could be much worse,” Ovechkin said. “He apologized. It’s nice of him. It was accident and it happens in the game.”

If Ovechkin looked out of sync when he returned to the ice, though, it’s because he was. The close call on the high stick, derailed some of his excitement to be in a game again. And it was a preseason game, when avoiding injuries is a prime concern.

“After that you don’t want to play because I feel pretty good and after that what happened, I’m just like, okay, it’s first preseason game,” Ovechkin said. “I was lucky. Only that happened, it could have been much worse.”