Sunday, April 03, 2011

What does game winning Russian machine mean to the Caps?

A lot when it comes to game winning goals.  At 3:19 in the overtime period against the Buffalo Sabres last night, Alex Ovechkin netted another game winner, a shot that deflected off the skate of a Sabre before going into the net past goalie Jhonas Enroth, playing for injured Ryan Miller.  Ovie's celebratory dance after scoring his league leading 11th game winning goal amused fans everywhere.  It's nice to see Ovie excited about scoring again, too, just in time for the playoffs.

The impact of Ovie's ability to pot game winning goals for the Capitals is significant.  This year, seven of Ovie's game winners were the difference between winning and losing for the Caps (two of those games were OT wins). That's fourteen standings points!  If the Caps had fourteen less points today as of 7:30 p.m., they'd have 89 points and be in eighth place behind the New York Rangers instead of tied for the Eastern conference lead with the Philadelphia Flyers with 103 points. The Russian machine's impact is pretty significant, huh?

Ovie has been in the top four in the league in game winning goals for the past four seasons.  In '07-08, he had another league leading season with 11 game winners, he had 10 in '08-09 where he was tied for 3rd and he had 7 in '09-10 which put him tied for 4th.

Ovie may not have goal totals near those of his past five seasons (50, 56, 65 in his last three seasons versus 30 this season), but he's still making the clutch goals. That's the hallmark of an elite sniper.

Ovie also joined heady company last night as his 1 goal, 2 assist night put him at 30-51-81 for the season.  That's his sixth season in a row with 80 plus points, a consecutive points total only players like Wayne Gretsky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr,  Peter Statsny and Steve Yzerman managed to get.  This year may not have been Ovie's best personal stats year, but here he is in with this group and leading the league in game winners.

In an unrelated note:

  • Congratulations to Jason Arnott for scoring his 400th goal on a clutch goal that kept the Caps in the game and able to get to overtime.

Three more games left Caps.  Please hang in there and get healthy.

Let's go Caps!

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