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Posted at 03:08 PM ET, 04/18/2012

How hitting affects Alex Ovechkin’s scoring

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS | Since he entered the league, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has been credited with 1460 hits and has taken 2829 shots (339 of which have been goals) during the regular season. That makes him the NHL’s only true power forward, defined here as managing at least a 25-goal, 120-hit pace over 82 games in each of the past six seasons. Not surprisingly, the Great Eight is second best in the postseason with 17 hits in three games, including some jaw-dropping collisions with Bruins’ blueliner Dennis Seidenberg.

However, as former Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau correctly indicated on “Hockey Night in Canada” before Game 2, “when [Ovechkin] starts focusing on hitting, he doesn’t focus on scoring.”

Once Ovechkin lines up more and more players in his crosshairs, his shots and goals per game start to decline.

Maybe Ovechkin hits out of frustration, maybe he is just setting a physical tone, but with Backstrom suspended for Thursday’s game after receiving a match penalty for cross checking Rich Peverley in Game 3, the Capitals are going to need Ovechkin’s scoring more than his hitting if they are to pull off the upset and advance past the first round.

Follow Neil on Twitter: @ngreenberg | Caps scoring chances

More from Washington Post Sports:

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— Capitals adjust lines in preparation for Backstrom’s absence

­— Backstrom suspended for Game 4 

— NHL roundup: Chicago’s Hossa released from hospital after Torres hit 

— Hunter: Bruins are targeting Backstrom’s head 

— Were the Bruins offsides on game-winner in Game 3? 

By Neil Greenberg  |  03:08 PM ET, 04/18/2012

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