Alex Ovechkin’s Shotless Games

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Posted March 7, 2020

(Caps Outsider)

For just the 15th time in his career on Saturday, Alex Ovechkin was held without a shot on goal in a game, though Washington beat Pittsburgh, 5-2. In fact, the Capitals have a fantastic record – 11-3-1 – when Ovi is held without a shot, which obviously means that other players are stepping up while defenders are zoning in on him.

Considering Ovechkin leads the league in shots on goal almost every year and will soon be the NHL’s all-time leading shot-taker, it’s obviously a statistical oddity when Ovi doesn’t get at least one shot.

Eight of Ovi’s 15 shotless games came at home, and the three regulation losses were absolute clunkers, including a 7-1 loss in Chicago in 2018, a 5-2 loss in Nashville in 2017, and a 4-0 loss at home to Carolina in 2013. Ovi does, however, have 9 assists in these games. Eight times, he played fewer than 20 minutes – far short of his average – and only three times played more than 20:45.

While he’s not getting shots on net, he is hitting folks a bit more, including 13 times in the last two shotless games he’s had this season.

Ovi’s ‘worst’ stretch, is seems, was in Feb. 2017, when he had three games without a shot on goal. That season he only had 313 shots and 33 goals, mainly because they were cutting his minutes to ‘keep him fresh’ for the playoffs. Also that season, the Caps were winning so much that they didn’t need the extra goals out of him.

Ovi also had a four-year, 315 game streak of having at least one shot on net, which ended in a 6-3 win against Detroit in 2017.

Here is the complete list:

Date OPP Pos Hits Assists +/- PIM P/GP PPP TOI/GP
2005-11-23 TAM* L, 3-4 (SO) 1 -2 0 1 1 20:07
2007-10-08 @NYI W, 2-1 1 0 0 1 0 20:02
2010-01-19 DET W, 3-2 0 1 -1 0 1 1 22:13
2011-03-18 @NJD W, 3-0 2 2 3 0 2 0 15:24
2013-02-26 CAR W, 3-0 4 1 0 0 1 1 17:52
2013-03-12 CAR L, 0-4 5 0 -1 0 0 0 22:27
2017-02-09 DET W, 6-3 4 0 1 0 0 0 13:54
2017-02-22 @PHI W, 4-1 5 2 2 2 2 0 17:18
2017-02-25 @NSH L, 2-5 2 0 0 4 0 0 20:36
2017-11-12 EDM W, 2-1 (SO) 2 0 0 0 0 0 23:48
2018-02-09 CBJ W, 4-2 1 0 -2 0 0 0 20:45
2018-02-17 @CHI L, 1-7 4 0 -1 4 0 0 18:22
2019-03-19 @NJD W, 4-1 0 1 1 0 1 0 18:26
2019-12-11 BOS W, 3-2 6 0 0 0 0 0 18:59
2020-03-07 @PIT W, 5-2 7 0 1 0 0 0 16:34

*scored a shootout goal