While Alex Ovechkin’s even strength scoring drought has reached a career-worst 16 straight games and his minus-36 rating is last in the NHL, there remains little doubt that Ovechkin will win his fourth career Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goal scorer.
Ovechkin’s League-best 48 tallies are nine clear of his closest competitor, Anaheim’s Corey Perry (39 goals), with six games remaining in the regular season.
Still, there is no question that as Washington has remained on the outside of a playoff position since Jan.18, Ovechkin’s goal scoring prowess has dried up during the second half of the season.
Ovechkin, you may recall, scored 10 goals in the first 10 games of the season, leading to talk about a possible 50-in-50 campaign. At the very least, there was the thought that Ovechkin, who scored 23 goals in the final 23 games last year, could challenge his career-best of 65 goals in a single season.
Instead, just over five months later, it remains to be seen whether Ovechkin will even hit the half century mark in 2013-14. The Capitals’ captain has four goals in his last 13 games, and must score twice in the final six games to secure a fifth career 50-goal season and his first since 2009-10. Of course, the Capitals have more pressing team-oriented goals that also need addressing.
Only once this season has Ovechkin been held to fewer than two goals over a six game stretch (1G in 6GP from Mar.6-16), but if that’s the case down the stretch, the NHL would be without a 50-goal scorer in a full season for the first time in ten years.
The last time the NHL was without a 50-goal scorer during a full season was in 2003-04 when Ilya Kovalchuk (Atlanta Thrashers), Jarome Iginla (Calgary Flames) and Rick Nash (Columbus Blue Jackets) led the League with 41 goals each.