Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Despite Goal Drought, Ovechkin Still Looms Large

Just glancing at the stat sheet, Alex Ovechkin is in his biggest slump since January, as he's been held without a goal for four consecutive games, and has just one tally in Washington's last eight contests.

Only his stretch early in the season where he went nine straight games without a goal has Ovechkin not lit the lamp as he has in the last few games.

Of course, playoff hockey isn't all about what is on the stat sheets.

The star has contributed with four assists in three games (including a pair last Wednesday that were a couple of inches from being a pair of goals), and also showed off his hustle with a pair of strong defensive plays, including one to make up for a turnover at the blueline.

One thing that is playing in the back of the Rangers' mind is despite their 2-1 lead they carry into Game 4 tonight at Madison Square Garden is that Ovechkin hasn't even reached what he can do in a playoff series.

Last spring, Ovechkin won Game 1 with a spectacular individual effort against the Flyers, but then was mostly quiet until the later stages of the series, ending with nine points in seven games - with six of those coming in the final four games of the series.

And, Ovechkin hasn't been held without a goal in four straight games since Jan. 6-13, and then reeled off a pair of two-goal games over the next four.

He certainly has drawn the Rangers' attention, but with that extra attention is extra ice his teammates can take advantage of. Monday night, with New York paying a bit too much attention to No. 8, Alexander Semin was open to score a pair of goals - and create a couple of other chances.

With that in mind, before tonight's critical Game 4, the Rangers will look to use defense to try and keep the Caps from fully seizing momentum heading back to Washington for Friday's Game 5.

But with Ovechkin still without a goal, the Rangers are going to be wary of his prowess - or also risk allowing him to make his teammates better with the extra attention.


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  2. Sure thing - I'll add in - thanks for visiting!