Alexander Ovechkin has only 5 goals in a season.
The 23-year-old mustachioed leader of Toronto is the star of the day in the NHL. Auston Matthews scored two goals for Ottawa himself, and helped his partners twice more - in the end, the Leafs won 7: 3, although their most productive player spent only 16:49 on the ice - his smallest ice time in 2021.
In the middle of the first period, Auston opened the scoring by hitting Hedberg with a throw from the throw-in circle (it seems, not without the help of a ricochet).
And 20 seconds before the break, Matthews, after a luxurious transfer from Mitch Marner, simply put the puck into the goal of Matt Murray.
“To be honest, I'm just trying to get into the open space,” Matthews shared his secret of success after the match. "The puck is now going into the net, which is great, but most importantly, we are winning."
The striker is clearly modest: his successful streak has already lasted 15 matches in a row (he did not score points in only one game of the season) and during this time he scored 16 goals - the first number of the sniper race. His lead over the pursuers already looks decent: only Brock Bocer is 4 goals behind, all the other pursuers are 6, 7 or more behind. Right now, Auston is seen as the main candidate for the Maurice Richard Trophy -2021.
Here, of course, it is worth stopping for a couple of minutes for indignation in the style: “How can you ?! You cannot take away his favorite toy from Ovechkin! " or “Yes Ovi and not such snipers overtook during the championship” (write in the comments).
Indeed, over the past 13 years, Alexander became the best sniper of the season 9 times - a crazy figure. He either did not immediately leave anyone a chance, or he swayed during the season and ate his opponent at the very finish - in general, he was most reluctant to share the title (Pastrnyak in 2020 was helped by the stop of the regular season). But now another case - the captain of "Washington" has absolutely no time to swing, and meanwhile he does not score in three games in a row.
The 2021 season in the NHL is shortened - only 56 matches (and this is even in the most ideal scenario). “Washington” has already gone through more than a quarter of the regular season - Ovechkin has only 5 goals (although Alexander himself only had 11 matches - due to a violation of the covid protocol). There are 41 more games ahead - and in usual conditions he could quickly bypass Matthews, but now the divisions are closed and all matches are played only inside them - which will clearly interfere with Ovechkin.
Moreover, the matter is not in the composition of the Capitals division - his performance with these rivals is slightly less than usual, but not critical.
The problem is precisely in the Canadian division, where the three most skipping NHL clubs are playing right now: Ottawa (78 conceded in 19 games), Vancouver (72 for 20) and Edmonton (60 for 18) - and so far there are no prerequisites ... so that in their defense something has changed dramatically. In matches with them, Auston Matthews has already shot 13 goals (out of his 16) - and there are 15 more such games ahead in the season, where he can fill statistics. But Montreal, Winnipeg and Calgary are also not examples to follow in their zone. So before handing over to the main mustache of the league "Selke" and "Hart" look at which teams they looked the brightest in the match.
By comparison, the most conceded team in the Washington division is Washington (53 in 15 games). Of course, there are “New Jersey” and “Buffalo”, but the first Capitals haven’t played against the first ones, and Ovechkin’s somehow doesn’t manage to get scoring statistics on the Sabers.
By the way, in this episode, an assist was recorded on Ovechkin - 581st in his career. Now he is in the top 100 assistant in NHL history - shares the last line with Dave Babich. Before the leader on this indicator - Wayne Gretzky - nothing at all: another 1382 assists.