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Posted at 03:38 PM ET, 10/18/2011

Statistical analysis: Alex Ovechkin simply needs more shots on net


Four games into the season, there are already signs of frustration when it comes to superstar Alex Ovechkin. The Capitals left wing has just one goal this season after a statistically disappointing 2010-11 campaign.

There have also been creative explanations for the slow start, but they just aren’t accurate.

It's not about his shots getting blocked more. In fact, Ovechkin is seeing fewer of his shots blocked at even strength:

Season% BlockedBlk/60
2011-201221.7%4.80
2010-201132.1%7.78
2009-201034.8%9.74

Coach Bruce Boudreau said Ovechkin “obviously feels that his shot is not as accurate. That’s something we want to get going.”

But that’s also not true. He's actually missed fewer shots per 60 minutes of even strength time and less as a percentage of shots taken than last year.

Season% MissedMs/60
2011-201227.8%4.80
2010-201129.2%4.81
2009-201027.9%5.10

Some say the slump can be attributed to opponents defending the two-time MVP differently. The past two seasons, defenders have been stepping up on him as an opposing forward applies pressure from the backside, often stripping him of the puck or forcing him into a low percentage shot.

That may be the cause, but Ovechkin hasn't done well with the high-percentage shots, either.

As I have indicated before, it is about shot volume, which has
been on the decline since 2008-09. Ovechkin is directing fewer shots
at net during even strength. This includes shots that light the lamp,
are saved, missed or blocked

SeasonShots at Net/60
2011-201222.06
2010-201124.23
2009-201028.02

Ovechkin is an average finisher, so if he is not generating a huge volume of shots at net, he will simply be an average scorer.

Follow Neil on Twitter: @ngreenberg

By Neil Greenberg  |  03:38 PM ET, 10/18/2011

 
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