Alex Ovechkin scored his ninth goal of the season and added his first assist of the season in the Capitals’ 5-2 win at the New Jersey Devils. Ovechkin’s goal was his 9th in the first five games this season. The Capitals improved to 3-1-1 on the year and handed the Devils their first loss of the season.
He tied Mario Lemieux in 1988-89 and Patrick Marleau in 2012-13 for the most goals through the first five goals of the season. In the last two seasons, it took Ovechkin, 32, until November 19 in 2015 and November 20 last season to get his ninth goal of the year. The Russian was named the NHL’s first star of the week on Monday. Seven of his nine have come at even strength. Last year, he only had 17 even strength goals. His linemate, Evgeny Kuznetsov, has assisted on seven of Ovechkin’s nine goals this season. Kuznetsov, 25 also became the first player in Capitals history to have 10 assists through the team’s first five games.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) October 14, 2017
Ovechkin has been through a tear during the first week of the 2017-18 season, arguably the hottest player in the NHL. He scored a hat trick in back-to-back games to start the season against the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens last week. He had a four-goal game in the Montreal game on Saturday night.
Through five games of the regular season, Alex Ovechkin’s scoring pace would result in 148 goals and 162 points assuming he plays all 82 games. While he’s unlikely to come close to half of both of those numbers, it is still an impressive mark for the Great 8. Ovechkin has averaged 1.8 goals per game and 2 points per game through the first five games of the year.
Ovechkin was challenged by General Manager Brian MacLellan to change the way he trains in the offseason after he finished the year with 33 goals, his fewest in a non-lockout year. With the Capitals losing Marcus Johansson to the Devils, Justin Williams to the Carolina Hurricanes, Kevin Shattenkirk to the New York Rangers, Daniel Winnik to the Minnesota Wild, Karl Alzner to the Canadiens, and Nate Schmidt to the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft, Ovechkin needs to continue to dominate for the Capitals as they look to replace that production. So far, he has done just that.
By Harrison Brown