Photo credit: Bruce Fedyck
The Washington Capitals’ game against the Winnipeg Jets fell apart the oddest time: as the team went a man to the good in the second period after large-and-in-charge Dustin Byfuglien roughed up Marcus Johansson. Instead of converting, the Caps responded by giving up a plethora of odd-man rushes on the power play. Eventually, Bryan Little scored the inevitable shorty. One minute and ten seconds later, Grant Clitsome scored, giving Winnipeg their first lead and the favor of the game’s momentum.
Things looked bleak, but those are the times that game-changing players relish. With the Caps seemingly about to get run out of the MTS Centre, Alex Ovechkin scored on a breakaway out of nowhere, breathing life back into his team.
During the intermission interview, Ovechkin said he got “lucky” on that first one. Ever humble.
Two minutes and twelve seconds later, Ovi scored again. After Marcus Johansson won a draw in the offensive zone, the Russian machine put his head down and blindly ripped one home.
GIFs by welshhockeyfan
That goal gave the Capitals back the lead. The two goals gave Ovechkin his 78th multi-goal game. It also restored his lead in goals (9) over the NHL. He hopped over Sidney Crosby, Alex Steen, Tomas Hertl, and Patrick Marleau– who all had 7 coming into tonight.
And oh hey by the way, this season could wind up being Alex Ovechkin’s best year ever statistically. He’s on pace to set an NHL record in shots. He recorded 7 shots against Winnipeg, has 61 on the year (6.78/game), and is on pace for 556 shots on the season. The single-season record is 550, held by Phil Esposito in 1970–71. Number two on that list was Ovechkin’s career high: 528 shots in 2008-09, his
first second MVP season.
Since Adam Oates has taken over as head coach, Ovi has 41 goals in 57 games. He’s on pace for 82 goals this season. There will be a drop off, but if Ovechkin keeps shooting the puck like he has been, his 12.2% career shooting percentage suggests that he’s likely to break the 60-plus goal plateau for the second time in his career.
It’s still early, but this is a smarter Russian machine. He’s utilized brilliantly on the power play. He’s shooting the puck more and he carries the puck less, trusting his teammates more.
While the Caps record is not impressive, Ovechkin’s play surely has been. This season should be a treat to watch.
Seriously tho: Ovechkin 6 shots per game x 82 games x 10% shooting = 50G. He is career 12% shooter so 60G season in reach. Easy.
— Neil Greenberg (@ngreenberg) October 23, 2013
Additional reporting and help on stats from Fedor Fedin.
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