Not that anyone has been paying a particularly large amount of attention to the Capitals these days, for reasons that seem to me to be rather obvious, but Alex Ovechkin is shredding every defense he comes across. Which is a weird thing to type in 2013.
I guess it’s notable to say first that the Caps have won four of their last five games, but that’s largely down to the job Ovechkin is doing to put the puck in the net once again. He has, very very quietly, crept up to 31 points in 32 games, owing largely to this streak in which he’s scored seven goals and four assists in the last seven games. Even two weeks ago, the idea of Ovechkin scoring a goal a game would have seemed like a farcical pace for him to keep up for more than, say, one outing, would have seemed silly and wrong and dumb and you would have hollered at whoever wrote it. And you’d have probably been right to do so.
Despite his pedigree as being a world-class goalscorer, Ovechkin had nine goals and 20 points 25 games and looked pretty much bad a lot of the time. Mike Milbury was very upset, as you can imagine. Then, around the time Milbury had his second nationally-televised heart attack in about two weeks, Ovechkin went off.
He was held without even a shot on goal in a loss to the Hurricanes, then the streak began in earnest. During that seven-game stretch, he has piled up 35 shots, which is a good amount. Seven goals on 35 shots is, for you math majors out there, 20 percent shooting, which seems unsustainably high. But then you gotta consider that before that he had nine on 101, which is only like 9 percent, so maybe there’s some middle ground to find there. Interestingly, Ovechkin’s career shooting percentage is only 12, which surprised me, but then you gotta figure he’s closing in on 3,000 career shots in eight seasons, and has led the league in that category in all but one of them, despite the fact that his 50-goal days seem long over.
It’s still tough to imagine Ovechkin magically challenging Steven Stamkos or even James Neal for annual goal totals, but he’s currently tied for sixth in the league and looks to be on a bit of an upswing.
We’ll see how long it lasts, and certainly it can’t go forever, but for right now, it’s lazy, dumb, not focused on hockey Alex Ovechkin who is laughing and feeling good, and Milbury is probably screaming at some 5-year-old child who lost his mommy in a suburban Boston grocery store. No hustle outta that kid.
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