Photo: NBC PHT
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin erupted with 14 goals and 15 points over seven games from January 13-February 4 earlier this season, a stretch of games that included three hat-tricks and saw him pass four Hall of Famers on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list in a matter of days. Was it the hottest the Great Eight has ever been in his career? NoVa Caps takes a look.
2005 – Ovechkin had three hot streaks during his rookie season, the most impressive of which saw him post nine goals (an average of 0.53 per game) and 24 points (1.41) in 17 games from March 17 to April 18. He also recorded eight goals (1.14) and 13 points (1.86) over seven-game point streak shortly before that from February 10 to March 8. Earlier in the season, the Russian rookie tallied 18 goals (0.83) and 37 points (1.76) in 21 games, including “The Goal” and his first career NHL hat-trick while visiting the Anaheim Ducks, from December 3 to January 21.
2006 – Ovechkin went through only one hot streak in 2006 from February 10 to March 8 when he recorded eight goals (1.14) and 13 points (1.63) in seven games.
2007 – After being held off of the scoresheet and recording a -4 rating in the season opener in a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, Ovechkin went on a tear with 33 goals (0.65) and 70 points (1.37) in his next 51 games from October 7 to February 1. He recorded one hat trick during this streak.
2008 – The Great Eight came out of the gate flying with 48 goals (0.83) and 78 points (1.34) in 58 games from October 5 to February 13. That included four-goal games against the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators.
2009 – Ovechkin recorded 25 goals (0.86) and 48 points (1.66) in 29 games from November 6 to January 3, where he had just a single hat-trick.
2010 – From October 23 to February 12, he tallied 33 goals (0.75) and 73 points (1.66), including his 500th, in 44 games. That streak featured one hat-trick.
2011 – Ovechkin would take a little while to find his stride after a devastating seven-game loss to the Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, but he got going at the right time as he posted 11 goals (0.38), including the 300th of his career, and 29 points (1.38) in 21 games from February 16 to April 6.
2012 – It was a similar story to the previous season, but Ovechkin eventually found his footing with 10 goals (1.00) and 12 points (1.20) in 10 games from March 8-25.
2013 – Ovechkin would end the lockout season on a tear with 27 goals (0.84) and 46 points (1.44) in 32 games from February 22 to April 27. He recorded two hat-tricks during this stretch and won the Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy with 32 goals and the Hart Trophy as league MVP.
2014 – Ovechkin picked up right where he left off from his MVP season with 30 goals (0.94) and 40 points (1.25) in 32 games from the season opener on October 1 to December 21. That included an epic four-goal game against the Lightning and his 400th career NHL goal near the end of that stretch.
2015 – Ovechkin came out of the 2013-14 season angry after the Capitals missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in seven years and he had a league-worst -35 rating. His response included a 31-goal (.86), 45-point (1.25) effort in 36 games from December 29 to March 19.
2016 – Ovechkin recorded 26 goals (0.90) and 33 points (1.14) in 29 games from December 18 to February 27, including 19 goals (0.95) and 24 points (1.20) in 20 games from January 6 to the end of that stretch. He also earned the 500th goal of his career during that hot streak.
2017 – After Capitals GM Brian MacLellan challenged Ovechkin to evolve from the old school NHL playbook of hitting and physicality to a new one of speed and skill, the Great Eight came out on fire as he recorded nine goals (1.80) and 10 points (2.00) in five games to begin the season in October, tallying back-to-back hat-tricks against the Senators and Canadiens (where he scored four) to kick off the campaign. He also recorded eight goals (1.14), including one hat-trick against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and 12 points (1.71) in seven games in late November that spanned into early December.
2018 – Just when you thought Ovechkin might begin to ease off the gas after a summer full of partying once the Capitals finally won the Stanley Cup, he once again proved his critics wrong as he tallied 17 goals (1.21) and 23 points during a career-high 14-game point-streak and 10 goals (1.67) over a six-game goal-streak which featured back-to-back hat-tricks against the Detroit Red Wings and Carolina Hurricanes.
2020 – Ovechkin entered January 13 nine goals behind Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak for the league-lead, making many think his two-year scoring champion streak was in jeopardy. The 34-year-old responded with eight goals in his next three games, including back-to-back hat-tricks for the third straight year against the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders. During his 14-goal (2.00), 15-point (2.14) tear in seven games, he tallied another hat-trick (a natural one for the first time in his career) against the Los Angeles Kings to pull one goal ahead of Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and two ahead of Pastrnak for the NHL lead.
While Ovechkin’s hot-streak this season may not have been as long as previous streaks when he was in his prime, his goal- and point-per-game averages were higher during this past hot-streak than any others he had over the course of his 14-year NHL career. As Ovechkin sits only 188 goals away from Wayne Gretzky’s NHL record 894, could he use that as fuel to impress us even more than he did earlier this season? While some may think that is a stretch, Ovechkin has a track record of proving skeptics wrong.
By Harrison Brown