The way he’s been lighting up the scoreboard lately it should come as no surprise that Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has been named the NHL’s First Star of the Week for the week ending on Sunday.
Ovechkin led the NHL with seven goals and tied for the league lead with nine points in four games. He also paced all skaters with four power-play points, including two goals, raising his season totals to an NHL-best 14 power-play goals and 21 power-play points.
Asked Sunday night if it feels like the good old days have returned, Ovechkin smiled.
“It’s the same days,” he said. “It’s always been fun. I’m just getting used to [playing right wing].”
Ovechkin began the week by scoring two goals, including the game-winner, and adding an assist in a 5-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on April 2. He netted the lone shootout goal in a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders April 4 and then recorded his 12th career hat trick, including the game-winner, and an assist in a 4-3 triumph over the Florida Panthers Saturday night.
Ovechkin closed out the week by scoring two goals in a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday night, bumping his season goal total to 25 – tied for first in the NHL with the Lightning’s Steven Stamkos
Ovechkin, 27, leads the Capitals in goals and ranks tied for sixth in points. He has recorded 16 goals and seven assists in his last 14 games. The only other active players to score at least 20 goals in each of their first eight NHL seasons are Jaromir Jagr, who did it 17 times, Teemu Selanne [11 times] and Ilya Kovalchuk [10 times through last season].
Ovechkin became the 36th player in NHL history to score 20 or more goals in his first eight seasons in the league and became the only player to have scored 20 or more goals each of the last eight seasons [since 2005-06].
St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott and New York Rangers
goaltender Henrik Lundqvist have been named the NHL’s second and third stars for the week.
The Capitals have gone 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and currently lead the Southeast Division by two points. The Caps are in the midst of a season-high, four-game winning streak that will be put to the test Tuesday night in Montreal against the Canadiens, who learned Monday they’ll be without defenseman Alexei Emelin the remainder of the season with a torn ligament in his left knee.
The Canadiens could have forward Rene Bourque back in the lineup after he missed the past six weeks with a concussion suffered in late February. As you may recall it was Bourque who gave Nicklas Backstrom a concussion midway through last season, sidelining the Capitals center for nearly three months.
The Caps are expected to be without forwards Brooks Laich and Martin Erat. Both are sidelined with lower body injuries.