Alex Ovechkin’s performance and evolution under Coach Adam Oates’s guidance this season will continue to be intensely scrutinized, but over the past seven games it’s impossible to deny that the star winger has stepped up tackle the challenge of helping the Capitals preserve their postseason hopes.
Ovechkin has recorded seven goals and 11 points in the past seven games to lead Washington to a 5-2 record during that span.
On Monday, Ovechkin was named the NHL’s first star of the week for his five goals and eight points in Washington’s four games from March 19-24. If he scores against the New York Islanders Tuesday at Verizon Center, it would mark his first six-game goal-scoring streak since January 2008.
“Right now I’m scoring goals and I’m the king of the world,” Ovechkin said Monday. “And a couple weeks ago I was almost in the toilet. So maybe you just forget to flush me. It’s kind of situation when I don’t care right now what happens.”
Before this outburst of offense, Ovechkin was coming under considerable fire from various NHL pundits and talking heads as he recorded just one goal in eight games from Feb. 26 – March 12. But all season, Oates has maintained that he wants more from Ovechkin than offensive statistics, and he’s trying to teach the 27-year-old to value other aspects of his game as much as he does scoring.
Still, when Ovechkin can score goals in addition to remaining involved in the entire game as Oates wants, it makes for entertaining and energetic performances from the captain — like his three-point and physical showing in the 4-0 win at Winnipeg last Thursday.
“The most important thing for me is the chances,” Ovechkin said. “If I have like two games, no chances, no shootings, of course it’s something bad with me and maybe our line didn’t work out. But right now everything is working and I feel pretty good.”