Let the 'MVP' chants begin for Ovechkin

Let the 'MVP' chants begin for Ovechkin
April 23, 2013, 6:15 pm
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Let the “MVP” chants begin.

As the Capitals ride out the final week of what has been a season of redemption for Alex Ovechkin, the argument can be made for the Capitals’ 27-year-old captain to beat out Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and skate away with his third Hart Trophy.

With 30 goals in his first 45 games Ovechkin became just the ninth player in NHL history to record at least 30 goals in each of his first eight seasons.

The others -- Glenn Anderson, Mike Bossy, Mike Gartner, Wayne Gretzky, Dale Hawerchuk, Jari Kurri, Luc Robitaille and Bryan Trottier – are all in the Hall of Fame.

Ovechkin may very well be on his way as well, but a third Hart Trophy wouldn’t hurt his cause.

Entering Tuesday night’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, Ovechkin was leading the NHL in goals with 30 and was fourth in the league in scoring with 51 points, three behind Tampa’s Steven Stamkos, four behind Marty St. Louis and five behind Crosby, who remains sidelined by a fractured jaw and is destined to finish the season with 56 points in 36 games.

If Ovechkin can find a way to lead the NHL in goals and points while carrying the Capitals to a fifth Southeast Division title in six years, he’s got to sway voters in his favor, right?

“I know I’d voter for him,” Capitals defenseman Steve Oleksy said. “A lot of critics were after him in the beginning. I think a lot of people overlook at how hard it is to score at this level, especially when you’re a known superstar. When you’re playing against other teams’ top guys night in and night out, shift after shift, it’s tough.

“But he’s shown everybody that no matter what they say, he is that player everybody thought he was. He’s showed that in the second half of the season and to be honest, that’s when it’s most important. That’s what your big players have to come through and that’s exactly what he’s doing. There’s no doubt a large part the roll we’re on right now is because of him.”

Assist master: Nicklas Backstrom has one goal and 14 assists in 10 games during the month of April. Backstrom currently ranks third in the NHL in assists [39] and tied for 10th in points [46]. Since his rookie season in 2007-08, only four players have tallied more helpers than Backstrom’s 305 career assists.

Loving April: The Capitals have opened the month of April with a 9-1-0 record, their most productive month of April in regular-season history. The previous record for wins and points in April came in 1994-95 when the Caps went 7-6-1 [15 points]. The Capitals are searching for their first 10-win month since March of 2011 [12-2-1].

Green going: Mike Green recorded two more assists Saturday night in Montreal and has now tallied five goals and five assists in 10 games during the month of April. Green ranks second in the league among defensemen in goals scored (10), and is one of just six active defensemen to have tallied four, 10-goal seasons since the 2007-08 campaign. Only four defensemen have posted more points since 2007-08 than Green’s 257. 

Brouwer power: Troy Brouwer notched his third multi-goal game of the season on Saturday and ranks second on the Capitals with 19 goals. Brouwer ranks tied for 11th in the NHL in goals scored and has surpassed his goal total from last season in just 44 games. Brouwer has scored six goals in his last five games and is just three goals shy of tying his career high of 22, set in 2009-10. Brouwer’s five game-winning goals rank tied for fourth in the league.