Is Alex Ovechkin A Streaky Shooter?

Alex Ovechkin tries to score on Carey Price

Photo credit: Greg Fiume

I showed that all hockey players, particularly goal scorers, hit slumps, and it’s possible that the skater is not actually streaky by nature but due to some bad bounces appears streaky. I also showed that Alex Seminand Toronto’s Phil Kessel — are perhaps more consistent than we give them credit for. Now I turn my attention to the Great 8 and ask, is Alex Ovechkin a streaky shooter?

The methodology is the same: I set up two different simulations (each run 10,000 times and normalized to Ovechkin’s last 205 games) and compare those results to Ovechkin’s actual performance from the 2008-9 season to present day. The first simulation is going to be for Mr. Consistency. He always shoots 11% every night and has the same shot distribution as Ovechkin did for the last 2 1/2 years. The second, Mr. Streaky, has two different shooting percentages: one for when he is hot (16.5%) and one for when he is cold (7.3%). To determine if he was initially hot or cold at the beginning of a “season,” I flipped a coin and then assigned a 90% probability that he would stay in the state he was in game after game. In other words, he has a 90% chance of staying hot if he’s hot, or cold if he’s cold and only a 10% chance to change states. He too had the same shot distribution as Ovechkin did for the last 2 1/2 years.

Then I compared the numbers of three categories to see if Ovechkin’s actual season stats were closer to one or the other:

  1. Number of streaks where he went 3 or more games scoring at least one goal.
  2. Number of 0 goal games.
  3. Number of multi-goal games.

We are looking for similarities between what each simulation produces over 205 “games” and what Ovechkin did in real life. If Ovi’s actual results are closer to one simulation or the other, then he is a better fit for that model:

Player Games Goals 3+ streaks 0 Goal Multi Goal Games
Mr. Consistent 205 58 3 154 6
Mr. Streaky 205 130 11 114 29
Ovi 205 126 11 114 30

Almost a direct match with the streaky model. For Ovi to line up so perfectly with the streaky model is strong evidence, in my opinion, that he is in fact a streaky shooter. Maybe that’s obvious, maybe not, but I would think a perennial 50 goal scorer is more consistent than they are streaky.

So now that we now which model to use, we can use it to predict how many goals he should score over the next 28 games.


Before I did this simulation I had predicted Ovi would rally and end up with 34 goals by season’s end. Looks like that could be on the low end of the scale, depending on how “hot” he gets down the stretch.

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  • Lyn

    I love these simulation posts! Hope to see more in the future.

  • CDizz

    You should do this article for every player on the Caps. Except for Matt Bradley. Snipercity

  • Avtopilot

    I predicted 38 without much analisys – just knowing, that the new scheme will work better from now on and the results will get better.

  • Anon

    Did he perchance start the simulation in “hot” mode? I assume you didn’t flip a coin 10K times, so further assume that he started out in the same mode for every simulation?

  • @Anon The start of each “season” was a coin flip, so 50/50 chance he started hot for each.

    Ovi was “hot” for 48.1% of all the games simulated.