With a chance to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Sunday, Washington wing Alexander Ovechkin failed to get on the scoreboard. So did the Capitals. The Rangers beat Washington 1-0 setting up a decisive game seven tonight at the Verizon Center. For Ovechkin, the face of the Capitals franchise, it was the fourth straight game in the series that he neither scored a goal nor assisted on one. The Caps have lost three of the four games. If he doesn't make his mark on the score sheet tonight, it is likely Washington will begin the off-season tomorrow.
Ovechkin is among the most talented players in the NHL. His career average of 1.2 points per game is the 11th best in the history of hockey and ranks ahead of Hall of Famers Guy Lafleur, Joe Sakic, and Steve Yzerman. However, for a second straight postseason, not producing when it counts the most is devastating the Capitals chance of advancing.
Last year Ovechkin tallied a point in eight of the Caps 14 playoff games. Washington went 5-3 in games were he was a major factor, and 2-4 when he failed to score a point. During Washington's seven game loss to the Rangers in the conference quarterfinals Ovechkin failed to score a point in three of the four losses including a 2-1 setback in game seven. He scored a goal in all three Capital wins, each of which were one goal games.
Again this year the Capitals have gone as Ovechkin has. They are 2-0 in this years playoffs when he has been productive, and 1-3 when he hasn't been. Washington began this season slowly starting the year 1-5. Ovechkin failed to tally a point in four of the five losses while he potted the game winning goal in the lone win during that span. With Washington on the playoff bubble entering April, the Caps went 11-2 during the month to guarantee a postseason birth. Ovechkin had a point in nine of the 11 wins and totaled 14 goals and 8 assists during the month. In the team's two setbacks Ovechkin had one total point.
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Ovechkin has won the league's scoring title, earned MVP honors, and led the NHL in goals. His talent is matched by few if any other players in the league. He has never made it past the second round of the playoffs. If this year is going to be any different he better get on the board tonight.