Why Is Ovechkin Playing Well? Perhaps… “Points.”

Posted November 24, 2021

(Caps Outsider)

Alex Ovechkin is playing better than ever, having notched three assists in Wednesday’s 6-3 win against Montreal, giving him 18 in only 20 games and matching last season’s total in 25 fewer games. He is now second in the league in points, one ahead of Connor McDavid and three behind Leon Draisaitl, but he’s doing this at 36 years old while those guys are in their mid-twenties. How does he keep up with those guys?

“I don’t know how to answer that question. I try to do my job and I think our line play well and if we play like that everybody going to get points, and… I don’t know… points.”

Samantha Pell asked him if ‘something changed’ since his assist totals are skyrocketing. Ovi looked to John Carlson to see if he knew the answer, then credited secondary assists to guys like Evgeny Kuznetsov and Carlson.

He must have forgotten about the beautiful primary assist to Tom Wilson for the Caps’ fifth goal.

Coach Peter Laviolette had a different explanation. “I think that just based on the fact that the puck’s on his stick, you have to assume that he’s shooting the puck.” But that’s always been the case, hasn’t it? Just two seasons ago, in 68 games Ovi had 48 goals and 19 assists.

The only thing that’s truly different is that Nick Backstrom has been out, and no one has gotten more points with Ovi than Backy. I’m not saying Ovi is a better player without Backstrom, but clearly, so far this season, Ovi is playing better despite not having Backstrom.

Maybe there’s no need to dig any further into why things are going so well, and just enjoy the… points.