The Washington Post

Could Alex Ovechkin have a 40-goal season?

Then Ovechkin once again became the Great Eight. He has tallied nine goals in seven games, including one in Sunday night's 3-0 victory over Minnesota, and is officially back on a 40-goal pace for the first time since mid-November. With six games to go in the regular season he needs four goals for an even 40. Are the odds in his favor?

Not likely.

As good a run as he's had these last few games, it comes with an unsustainably high shooting percentage. Look at Ovechkin's shooting percentage as a five-game moving average and you will see it is as high as it has been this season. And it appears ripe for a fall.

It is tough to sustain a success rate of almost 30 percent in a league where the average is closer to 8 percent, so I would expect Ovechkin's good fortune to start to fade.

Plus, Ovechkin has never had more than nine goals in a seven-game span (he has nine in his last seven games) and that includes both the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, when he led the league in goals with 65 and 56, respectively. The Great Eight will likely need to break that threshold if he is to get to the 40-goal plateau this season.

However, not probable doesn't mean impossible. Based on his current output these past two years, I would give him a 10 percent chance at hitting 40 goals by the end of the regular season.

So yes, I am saying there is a chance.

Follow Neil on Twitter: @ngreenberg | Capitals scoring chances

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.


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