Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 1/7/12
2009_nhl_awards_0105

And, no, the title does not reference the two Alex’s who sport the hometown red sweaters of the Washington Capitals: Ovechkin and Semin.  Rather, it’s about Alex Ovechkin in the first 34 games of the season vs. the #8 that’s played in the last four games.  At the risk of sounding trite, it’s almost as if there have been two different individuals wearing the jersey that displays the Captain’s “C” for Washington.  Let’s take a brief look at the numbers.

In the first 34 games of the 2011-2012 regular season, Alex Ovechkin scored 25 points — 12 goals and 13 assists — clearly not Ovechkin-like production, give that in every one of his previous six seasons, he has averaged well over a point per game played.  His lack of scoring and overall lackluster play was the talk of every true Capitals fan.

Then, in the first four games following the Holiday break in December,  which took place over a seven-day period, the Great 8 scored five goals and had three assists!  What a difference!  It’s not clear what caused the difference, but whatever it was, Capitals coach Dale Hunter needs to figure it out and make sure it keeps happening.

That’s because not only has Alex Ovechkin been playing better, but the rest of Washington’s team has stepped up their game as well.  Over the last four games, Washington has outscored opponents 14 to 5 and taken away pucks 28 times vs. only 18 for their opponents.  It appears that they rise to the occasion whenever Ovechkin is really on his game.

All this good news notwithstanding, the Capitals’ glaring shortcoming continues to be in giveaways.  During this four game span, the Caps have coughed up the puck 39 times vs. only 19 for their opponents.  Those giveaways have a lot to do with the Capitals being outshot 114 to 91 over those same four games.  And, to give credit where credit is due, without the absolutely superb goaltending of Tomas Vokoun, who has stopped 109 of those 114 shots (a 95.6% save percentage), the outcomes would surely have been different.

So at the end of the day, it’s clear that:

  • Alex Ovechkin is currently playing like the Ovechkin of the past
  • As Ovechkin goes, so go the Capitals
  • A “hot goalie” is as much a key to success as is offensive firepower

We can only hope that #8 continues in a fashion that earned him the nickname “Great”.

Let’s Go Caps!

 

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Adam Eaton gets 4th of July surprise from brother

Clippers in talks with JaVale McGee, Amar’e Stoudemire

Report: LeBron won't negotiate with Cavs until Thompson is signed

Andrei Kostitsyn interested in return to NHL

Blazers fire assistant who said Aldridge was leaving team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Miguel Cabrera lands on DL for first time in his career

LaMarcus Aldridge chooses to sign with Spurs

WATCH: Serena Williams wags finger at Wimbledon crowd, says, 'Don’t try me'

Report: Rajon Rondo headed to Sacramento Kings

Dez Bryant deal with Cowboys could be announced Monday

Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly sign long-term contracts with Columbus, Buffalo

Kosta Koufos agrees to deal with Kings

Report: Blues in trade talks about Kevin Shattenirk

Report: Gregg Popovich plans to fulfill five-year contract

4-Star LB commits to Kentucky, zings Louisville

Clay Buchholz not worried about trade rumors

All hope isn't completely lost for this year's Milwaukee Brewers

Roy Hibbert likely being traded to Lakers

WATCH: Pablo Sandoval falls over railing during catch

Report: Packers TE charged with firing a gun in Miami

Kawhi, LaMarcus, the mid-range and the Spurs' next epoch

How can Rafael Nadal regain his dominance?

NBA Rumors: Cavs and Spurs vying for David West

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.