GDB 11.0: OVIE ON FIRE

Alex Ovechkin is my favourite player to watch in the NHL. I loved his "hot stick" celebration after he scored 50 goals for the 3rd time in his career, and right now he’s scoring goals more frequently than everyone, including Steven Stamkos.

Ovechkin has 9 goals in 9 games this season, and 31 in his last 30 games dating back to last year. After scoring 32 goals in 2011 and 38 in 2012, many wrote Ovechkin had lost his offensive flair and had become too predictable.

Adam Oates became the coach of the Capitals and he convinced Ovechkin he could be more productive on the right wing, after playing the previous seven NHL seasons on the left side.

Oates moved Ovechkin to the right wing last year, and after some early struggles and adjustments, Ovechkin has returned to his elite scoring ways.

If you think 30 games is too short of a sample size to illustrate Ovechkin’s dominant goal scoring ability, here’s some more proof.

Since entering the NHL in 2005/2006 Ovechkin has scored 380 goals. The next closest is Ilya Kovalchuk with 309. Jarome Iginla and Dany Heatley are tied for 3rd most with 280 goals. In the previous eight seasons Ovechkin has scored 100 more goals than every player, except one.

What about Steven Stamkos you ask?

Stamkos is also an elite goal scorer, and since he entered the league, 2008/2009, he and Ovechkin are equally dangerous.Ovechkin has outscored him 217-213, and that four goal lead is due to a 9-5 Ovechkin advantage this season.

To be fair, if you exclude Stamkos’ rookie season he has outscored Ovechkin the past four seasons. They are clearly the elite goal scorers in the game.

Iif you were one who wrote off Ovechkin, many of you scoffed at me when I said the Oilers should trade for him last February, you might want to reconsider your stance.

OVIE VS. YAKUPOV

Yakupov isn’t going to be like Ovechkin, mainly because he isn’t 6’3" and 230 pounds, but he has the potential to be a dangerous scorer like him.

It is interesting to note that Oates convinced Ovechkin to switch wings last season and go from his off-wing to the right side.Dallas Eakins has moved Yakupov from his off-wing to his natural left-side and he’s hoping for the same results.

Keep in mind it took Ovechkin, a proven NHL scorer, 20 games to adjust to the new wing. The Oilers and Yakupov will need to be patient as he learns to play the left side.

Ovechkin admitted that he wanted to switch back to the left side early last year, but Oates convinced him to stick with it. Today, Ovechkin says he feels more comfortable on the right side than he ever did on the left. 

LINEUP

Marc Arcobello continues to shine. He is only the 3rd rookie in the past 20 years to score ten points in the first ten games of his rookie season. Sidney Crosby had 12 points in 2005, while Patrick Kane had ten. Arcobello has ten assists, and while he did play one game last season, this is considered his rookie year.

He’s off to a great start. I don’t expect him to produce like Kane or Crosby for the rest of the season, but if he continues to play the way he has, in both ends of the rink, he will be a constant contributor in the lineup.

Yakupov-RNH-Eberle
Perron-Arcobello-Hemsky
Jones-Gordon-Pitlick
Gazdic-Acton-Eager

Smid-Petry
Belov-J.Schultz
Ference-N.Schultz

Dubnyk

The Capitals have a big skilled group of forwards:

Johansson-Backstrom-Ovechkin
Erat-Laich-Brouwer
Chimera-Grabovski-Ward
Volpatti-Fehr-Wilson

Alzner-Carlson
Schmidt-Green
Erskine-Oleksy

Holtby

Smid and Petry will see a lot of Ovechkin tonight. "He is very difficult to contain. He’s big, strong and one of the few skilled guys who likes to play physical," said Petry.

QUICK HITS

  • The Oilers should be able to generate a lot of chances tonight. The Capitals have allowed 34.3 shots/game (26th most) thus far, but the Capitals are also 10th in shots for, 31.4/game. Adam Oates stated he wants his team to be better defensively, but so far that hasn’t happened.
     
  • Ovechkin has 5-3-8 in six games vs. the Oilers. His best game against the Oilers came on December 19th, 2009. Ovechkin potted two goals and an assist in the third period of a 4-2 comeback victory for the Capitals.
     
  • What makes Ovechkin such dangerous as a scorer is his ability to get off a hard shot from anywhere around his body. If a pass is behind him, in front of him, in his skates or close to his body, he is able to adjust his body positioning to get a shot off with velocity. His release point can change from shot to shot.
     
  • Devan Dubnyk has never faced Ovechkin. Tonight is his first chance to try and shut down one of the game’s best snipers. He jokingly said he was excited and nervous at the same time.
     
  • Dubnyk told me the one adjustment he made after the first four games is that he is now coming out to the top of the crease to get set. If he does sink back, he is still out of his net more than he was in the first four games.

LOOKING AHEAD…

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers pick up their third straight win with a 4-2 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Former Oiler Jason Chimera scores.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After scoring only two goals in the first nine games, the Oilers blueline continues their recent hot-streak with two more. Petry and Smid scored in Montreal, and tonight Anton Belov gets his first NHL goal and Petry pots his 3rd of the season.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

  • bazmagoo

    Here’s a suggestion for Oilersnation – Yakupov and Gagner to Columbus for Ryan Johansen and Ryan Murray. Pretty good fit for both teams, a #1 pick and a #6 pick for a #2 pick and a #4 pick.

    Johansen is steadily progressing as a tall, big but not physical, sound defensive center. Ryan Murray is a great defense partner (extremely sound defensively) for Justin Schultz now, and both can develop together.

    Personally I think that would be a “bold”, yet ultimately sound deal for the Oilers.

        • Zamboni Driver

          Wait!

          what are you talking about?!!

          Yakupov being compared to Zherdev and Filatov?

          Yesterday it was Ovechkin.

          I’m so confused and distraught.

          Okay I know…which one of those three people would try to go one-on-three then lose it in defenders skates time after time after time after time?

          • Newj

            Lol…

            actually Zherdev can dish very well..but Hitchcock didnt like his lack of defense…neither did Laviolette and he’s not exactly known as a defensive minded coach. Nicolay sat many games as a Flyer under Peter.

  • bazmagoo

    Also, personally I think we need Justin Schultz on the bottom pairing for at least a season or two. Belov and Ference are going to have to take on 2nd pairing duties, with Smid and Petry as the 1st. Hope none of them get injured this season, or we are completely hooped.

    Can anyone tell me what the hell happened to our powerplay? 3rd in the league in 2011-2012, 8th in the league 2012-2013, now 24th in the league. To me, this falls squarely on Eakins.

  • bazmagoo

    Anyone else think it may be time to send Yak to AHL to learn how to check his man in the defensive faceoff circle.

    And what the heck is this hang your head and slowly skating to the bench totally taking himself out of the play. That has suck bag prima donna written all over it.

    E-freaking-nuf of this molly-codling b.s. What I want to know is where is all this coming from. I didn’t see it coming based on his performance last year.

    Time for some really tough love imo.

  • bazmagoo

    Just re-read the news story from the Sun after the KLoser press conference when he insulted the fanbase and showed off his 6 rings.

    The link is below and worth a read:

    http://www.edmontonsun.com/2013/04/15/president-kevin-lowe-fails-to-provide-change-in-leadership-he-says-the-team-needs

    Does he realize how much he is despised in this city?

    When I read that article again, any hope I had for this franchise sunk. We truly are f*cked.

  • Rob...

    The game last night was good for both team in terms of performance but the Caps were just a better team.
    Its time to make trades to become a better team we have the ability do so with so much talent, sure it would be sad to see some of these guys go.
    Lets say Hall was on the sharks,im sure he would be the top scorer in the league, but as it is now we make other team feel better they come in and we have 3 first overalls and teams win and there managers are thinking that 15 overall pick was not bad at all.

  • Rob...

    Oilers paying well considering . They just are not a good team . Results show , even when they are playing well , they still mainly lose , all excuses aside .It’s up to Katz to fix this lost ship .

  • Rob...

    No Capital player including their stars, played more than 15 min. for the entire game.
    Yet, Oilers top guns played in the 20+ plus min. range. No wonder Caps, had more steam in the third period. Both teams had the same travel schedule.

    Have to say this but their goalie out played Dubnyk.

  • Rob...

    I’m just glad I didn’t shell out a few hundres dollars for me and the kid/wife/guest to watch this. Hey Katz, what are you and Kevin gonna charge for a seat in rexall2?