Every so often there is an athlete who simply cannot be stopped by their peers for an entire season, and right now it appears that Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin is enjoying one of those years. After scoring two goals and contributing two assists in a 5-4 overtime victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night the Capitals captain has now totaled 38 goals and 17 assists in 49 games, numbers that are indicative of his dominance.
But of course leading the NHL in goals scored by ten over the next closest competitor is not the only thing that separates Ovechkin from everyone else; it’s the way in which he is doing it. Throughout the current season he has a constant spark that seemed to be missing from 2010 to midway through the 2012-13 season and is playing with a youthful exuberance that is not ordinarily seen from a nine-year veteran. At no point has Ovechkin taken his foot off the gas pedal when on the ice, and it could be argued that nobody in the NHL is having more fun right now than the Russian superstar.
The result of Ovechkin playing with a non-stop engine is that the right winger has been remarkably consistent and productive in getting pucks to the back of the net. Only once in 2013-14 has he missed out on scoring a single goal in more than two consecutive games, and he has scored a goal in 29 out of 49 total games. To put this into perspective, no other player in the NHL has even scored 29 goals during the season, so it truly is astounding the results that are being put up by Ovechkin.
Some people may point out that Sidney Crosby has been more productive this season because he has contributed 74 points as opposed to the 55 that Ovechkin has totaled. But in my opinion, this argument is not totally taken with a clear view as the two players have very different roles with Crosby being relied on to set up teammates and Ovechkin being the natural born sniper. Both are performing great in these capacities; but ultimately the basis of the game of hockey is to score goals, and Ovechkin is doing that at a rate that can not be rivaled by anyone else.
In effect, what this comparison amounts to is that Ovechkin is the best hockey player in the world right now and the one who puts most fear into opposing goalies. Doing this on a Capitals team that truly has no other consistent goal scoring option — sorry Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, Mike Green and Joel Ward — is even more impressive and leaves no doubt in my mind that Ovechkin will score north of 60 goals in 2013-14.
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