As the final games of the 2018-19 NHL regular season wrapped up on Saturday night, Alex Ovechkin secured his eighth Rocket Richard trophy. Ovi tallied 51 goals, his highest total in five years, with only Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl coming close with 50.
But, it turns out, that Draisaitl came dangerously close to tying Ovechkin in the race for the Rocket, with a wild swing from Calgary’s Rasmus Andersson the only thing denying him.
With Calgary goaltender Mike Smith pulled for the extra attacker, Draisaitl took aim at the empty net. Following its trajectory, without any interference, that puck was going to go in.
Enter: Rasmus Andersson. Wildly swinging his stick above his head, he bats the puck out of mid-air, ending Draisaitl’s bid for the Rocket.
Here’s the deflection out of the air in slow motion.
Had the puck gone in for Draisaitl’s 51st, it would have had the distinction of being his only empty-net goal of the 2018-19 season.
Draisaitl does not have an empty net goal this season. All 50 beat a goalie. He is one goal behind Alex Ovechkin to tie for the Maurice Richard trophy. #NHL
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) April 7, 2019
Being denied the empty net goal was just the icing on top of the cake for the Oilers, really, with Connor McDavid also exiting their final regular season game early with an as-yet-undisclosed injury.
Connor McDavid has a brace on but is walking. Isn’t sounding maybe as bad as it looked – he said that he thought his leg was in two pieces and that was a big part of why he didn’t want to put weight on it. MRI later today. #oilers
— Quinn Phillips (@QJPhillips) April 7, 2019
McDavid walks in, no crutches. pic.twitter.com/el2TvKuFtm
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) April 7, 2019
Update: Alex Ovechkin commented after seeing just how close Draisaitl got to tying him on Instagram.
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