Most hockey fans, from journalists and experts to ordinary fans and athletes, are so accustomed to the stability of Alexander Ovechkin that they are already crediting him with at least 40 goals per season. This year was no exception: even the fact that the main Russian sniper celebrated his 38th birthday in September did not stop anyone from uttering ordinary words like “Ovi will definitely score his 40-45 goals.” However, a month after the start of the National Hockey League season, many thought about their predictions. And for good reason.
At the start of the new NHL season, Ovechkin, unexpectedly for everyone, stalled. And if the first few matches of the championship without goals did not raise any questions, then 2 goals scored in 12 matches during a long idle streak of six games in a row made us think: “Has Alexander really been overtaken by the same decline that North American journalists predicted for him over the past five years? “
Today Ovi made this question irrelevant. Who knows: maybe only temporarily. Maybe until the end of the whole season. This will become clear later. In the meantime, we have a fact – Alexander Ovechkin continues to score and rewrite hockey history. The Islanders fell into the hands of the great Russian sniper. “Washington” already played with a club from New York quite recently – just a little over a week ago. Then the “islanders” won, and Semyon Varlamov, who defended the goal, completely “dry up” the game. Varley stopped not only his longtime teammate Ovechkin from scoring, but also the entire Capitals roster.
“He's already scored against me several times. And every time Ovi scores, he gets very excited about it. What can I say? Of course, it's nice to keep an eye on him. Before matches, when you're getting ready for the game, “You always think about how you will play against Ovi, expecting him to make at least 10 shots on target. We always try to be ready for his shots and stay focused the entire time he is on the court,” Varlamov said after that match .
For the second game against the Capitals in this championship, the Isles coaching staff again brought in an experienced goalkeeper, but this time Semyon was unable to keep the gates locked or win. The Capitals behaved in a very economical manner in New York and quite confidently defeated the Islanders. And both in terms of the score and the composition of the game. Ovechkin also made a significant contribution to this. Alexander, of course, did not shoot ten times on target, as Varlamov had previously noted, but he entered his name into the match protocol twice. The Russian scored a double, and Varlamov – formally – missed the eighth goal from Ovi in the 20th head-to-head meeting of his career. Alexander's second goal came with an empty net for the Islanders.
If Washington's captain finally broke, does that mean his game has somehow changed? Not at the moment. Today Ovi got something that should have gotten into someone else's possession before. As an example, Alexander’s first goal in the match. Evgeny Kuznetsov won the throw-in and immediately passed the ball to his compatriot. Next is the classic scheme: Ovechkin picked up the puck and threw it from his home office. We have seen hundreds of such goals performed by him. But how sincerely Alexander rejoices at them even now.
Ovi’s second goal came at the very end of the match, when the teams were already mentally heading to the locker room. Semyon Varlamov cleared the goal for the sixth skater, but then there was a turnover, Beck Malensteen's pass to the free Ovechkin, and the Capitals leader calmly sent the puck into the empty net.
Alexander for all This is the 56th time in his career in the NHL championships that he has distinguished himself in this way. And this is a repetition of the record for the entire league. Can you guess who it belonged to until now? Yes, this achievement was held by Wayne Gretzky. Now it has submitted to the main pursuer of the great Canadian.
We continue the countdown. Wayne Gretzky – 894 goals in NHL championships. Alexander Ovechkin – 826. 68 goals left before repeating the most important record in the hockey universe.