PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar played the final two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a partially torn right medial collateral ligament, a major injury that can sideline an athlete for months.

Gonchar, playing through the injury because he wanted to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in an NHL career that began during the 1994-95 season, was injured during a knee-to-knee hit by Washington star Alex Ovechkin in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Gonchar missed two games, returned for Game 7 of that series and played in the conference finals against Carolina and the Stanley Cup finals against Detroit without missing another game for the Stanley Cup champions.

"Lots of guys were playing with bruises," Gonchar said. *