Fresh off a five-year contract extension, Alex Ovechkin began his age-36 season with a bang, notching 4 elements (2g, 2a) in opposition to the New York Rangers on Opening Night and tallying objectives in 3 consecutive games. The six elements in 3 games have been Ovechkin’s third-best begin to a season in occupation historical past (points-wise). 2021-22 additionally marked the 6th time in Ovechkin’s illustrious occupation he had scored 4 or extra objectives simply 3 games into a time table.
The three-game starting to Ovechkin’s age-37 season has nearly been the reverse. Ovechkin is goalless in 2022-23 and has only one level, an help, as the Capitals have misplaced two in their first 3 games.
So must we be anxious?
(*3*)It’s gonna be a no from me, dawg. The final time Ovechkin went goalless in the first 3 games of a season, he gained the Rocket Richard Trophy at yr’s finish as the league’s main goal-scorer. That came about right through the 2012-13 campaign the place he replicated this season’s starting effects — 0 objectives and one level — and ended with 32 objectives in 48 games.
|Szn||Goals 1st 3 games||Pts||Total G||Pts||Richard?|
Analyzing the chart additional, in the six seasons the place Ovechkin scored one goal or much less to start out the yr, he ended up profitable the Rocket Richard Trophy 3 other occasions. In the six seasons the place he scored 4 objectives or extra to start out the yr, he ended up main the league in objectives 4 occasions. Basically, for Ovechkin, this isn’t a predictor of dangerous issues to come back as a result of each and every season he’s been persistently excellent regardless of his get started.
If Ovi is “scuffling” or now not as unhealthy, the context issues. The Capitals had a lot of turnover over the offseason.
They are without Nicklas Backstrom on the half-wall of the energy play because of a hip damage (Ovechkin has the maximum PPG in NHL historical past) and the first line is without his customary proper wing, Tom Wilson, because of a knee damage.
The Capitals began the yr with a tricky time table, too — games in consecutive days in opposition to two playoff groups from the 2021-22 season, the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs. On Saturday, the Capitals confronted the lowly Canadiens on the again finish of a back-to-back. Ovechkin scored in opposition to Montreal, however it technically didn’t rely as a result of the goal used to be overturned because of an offside problem. Later in the night, Ovi’s empty-net shot try ignored by way of mere inches after hitting the publish.
RMNB’s Peter Hassett wrote at the starting of the yr that age is the Capitals’ largest possibility this season. A stretch of 3 or 4 goalless games for Ovechkin isn’t a subject matter. We must only fear when it turns into a rising and extra common pattern.
Since 2013, Ovechkin has gone 3 directly games without a goal 106 occasions out of 673 games (16 %). He’s gone 4 games without a goal only 51 occasions (8 %).
Simply put, Ovechkin is one in every of the maximum constant goal-scorers in NHL historical past. The only reason we’re speaking about that is that we think such a lot out of him.
S/T to @tomgulittinhl for first tweeting.
Headline photograph: Alan Dobbins/RMNB