There arguably isn’t a single player in the NHL this season that received more criticism that Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin. Considering Ovechkin’s elite talent level, bloated contract and flamboyant style on the ice, that was to be expected, especially after peppering in his (and the team’s) early season struggles.
But Washington’s run over the last few months – mostly fueled by the offensive firepower of Ovechkin – was one of the most impressive stretches of the NHL season, clearly deserving of major accolades, and borderline in the same company as the winning streaks of the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins (earlier in the year).
Ovechkin went from being thrashed by peers and members of the media, to being a legitimate MVP contender (and perhaps a frontrunner for the Hart Trophy).
Take into account the following figures regarding Ovechkin’s season:
- Ovechkin’s month-by-month performance, meshed with that of his team, tells the story:
- January: Ovechkin (7 games, 2 goals, 1 assist), Capitals (6 losses, 1 in OT)
- February: Ovechkin (12 games, 6 goals, 6 assists), Capitals (6 losses)
- March: Ovechkin (16 games, 10 goals, 9 assists), Capitals (7 losses, 1 in OT)
- April: Ovechkin (13 games, 14 goals, 8 assists), Capitals (2 losses, 1 in OT)
- After a slow start, Ovechkin finished tied (with Sidney Crosby) for third in the NHL, with 56 points.
- Ovechkin led the league in goals, with 32.
- Washington led the NHL in Power Play percentage, and Ovechkin sparked the team, totaling 27 points with a man advantage (16 goals, 11 assists).
- One potential knock against him (as highlighted below in the Power Rankings): 6 of Ovechkin’s 32 goals – almost 19% of his season total – came against the lowly Panthers.
Washington’s run ended with a division title and the three seed in the Eastern Conference. The Capitals – as low as 29th in the early season Power Rankings – finished the regular season in the top five. Also highlighted below – and entrenched in the final regular season NHL Power Rankings at TWHS – are Ovechkin’s final season goal tallies against opposing teams (as highlighted in RED).
Regarding the Power Rankings, the Chicago Blackhawks clinched the Presidents’ Trophy and was the obvious first place finisher. The Pittsburgh Penguins landed in second place and the aforementioned Capitals finished in fifth, climbing ahead of the Bruins, after Boston lost to the Senators in the final game of the regular season. The entire list is as follows:
KP’s NHL Power Rankings: End of 2012-2013 NHL Regular Season
1. Chicago Blackhawks (164 points)
2. Pittsburgh Penguins (142 points) – Ovechkin: 2 goals
4. Montreal Canadiens (95 points) – Ovechkin: 3 goals
5. Washington Capitals (86 points)
6. Boston Bruins (83 points)
7. St. Louis Blues (80 points)
8. Los Angeles Kings (72 points)
9. New York Rangers (72 points) – Ovechkin: 1 goal
10. Toronto Maple Leafs (71 points) – Ovechkin: 2 goals
11. New York Islanders (67 points)
12. Vancouver Canucks (66 points)
13. Detroit Red Wings (66 points)
14. Ottawa Senators (58 points) – Ovechkin: 1 goal
15. San Jose Sharks (47 points)
16. Columbus Blue Jackets (45 points)
17. Minnesota Wild (37 points)
18. Phoenix Coyotes (25 points)
19. Winnipeg Jets (23 points) – Ovechkin: 4 goals
20. Philadelphia Flyers (22 points) – Ovechkin: 1 goal
21. Dallas Stars (19 points)
22. Buffalo Sabres (10 points) – Ovechkin: 3 goals
23. Edmonton Oilers (9 points)
24. New Jersey Devils (6 points) – Ovechkin: 3 goals
25. Tampa Bay Lightning (2 points) – Ovechkin: 3 goals
26. Carolina Hurricanes (-10 points) – Ovechkin: 3 goals
27. Calgary Flames (-15 points)
28. Nashville Predators (-34 points)
29. Colorado Avalanche (-41 points)
30. Florida Panthers (-62 points) – Ovechkin: 6 goals
* All stats per NHL.com and ESPN.com
The Wife Hates Sports’ NHL Power Rankings system has a method to its madness, attempting to be different and not just rank by popularity and record. It mixes a secret formula of six completely different categories, meshed into a points system. The categories don’t just include team results regarding record, but how each team has performed recently, as well as incorporating some statistics on both a team’s offense and defense.