Alex Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals and has 21 tallies in the Capitals first 29 games. Ovechkin’s always been among the league leaders in goals since first arriving in the NHL in 2005, but it’s his success at even strength this season which is especially notable.
Through December 6, Ovechkin has 15 five-on-five goals this year. Last season, he had 16 total.
So what’s the big difference? According to the Capitals, he’s skating.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 7, 2017
“Just visually, skating. Just skating,” Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said. “When he’s skating, he’s effective. I just think he’s skating better.”
Braden Holtby agreed.
“He’s starting to skate again which is creating more unique offense,” Holtby said to Capitals Radio’s Ben Raby. “I think that game in Toronto was one of the best games he’s played in a few years. It looks like he feels good and getting that line back together I think is working really well with Tom and Nick. I think he’s just adapting his game.
“He’s going out there and trying to create stuff as opposed to waiting for others to create things for him,” Holtby continued. “He’s not just relying on his shot, he’s realizing that he has more than just that to give. It’s coming and we need him to be that player. His strength is produced goals and we need it to be successful.”
And so did John Carlson.
“He’s been able to create some vintage goals. He’s seeing what’s working,” Carlson said also to Ben Raby. “You’ve got to constantly evolve because everyone keys on him so much that there are no secrets. I just think he’s staying unpredictable in what he does. He’s not trying to do the same thing over and over again and I think that allowed him to have more success.
“He’s skating. He’s obviously always passionate but it seems that he’s playing with a little bit of a chip of a shoulder.”
So there you have it. Ovi’s skating and that’s why he’s super duper good again.
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