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Ovechkin is Caps' big gun in OT, too

Friday, 10.15.2010 / 10:46 AM / Inside the Numbers

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

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Ovechkin is Caps' big gun in OT, too
As great as Alex Ovechkin is during regulation play, he seems to have the ability to elevate his game even higher during overtime.
In Washington, it's not overtime, it's "Ovi-time."

Alex Ovechkin is a threat to score any time he's on the ice, but he seems to save some of his best work for the five-minute overtime period. He did it again this week, scoring with 31.1 seconds left in OT to give the Washington Capitals a 3-2 victory against Ottawa.

The goal was his seventh in overtime since entering the NHL in 2005. During those five-plus seasons, he's tied with Anaheim's Saku Koivu and Vancouver's Daniel Sedin for the most OT goals by any player. The overall record is 15, held by four players -- including New Jersey's Patrik Elias, the only one of the quartet who's still active in the NHL.

Ovi actually is more dangerous when opponents are trying to stop him than when he's alone with the goaltender. While he has 7 overtime goals, he's just 13-for-47 in shootouts -- his 27.7 percent rate is below the NHL average of 32.8 since the League adopted the shootout in 2005.

The OT winner against Ottawa came in Ovechkin's 399th NHL game. He celebrated game No. 400 with another goal, helping the Caps edge the New York Islanders, 2-1. It was the 273rd of his career -- only Wayne Gretzky (366), Mario Lemieux (320), Mike Bossy (319) and Brett Hull (312) had more in their first 400 games.

Slow start for Sid -- While Ovechkin is off to a hot start with 4 goals in as many games, Sidney Crosby is enduring the slowest start of his career. Crosby had just 1 assist through three games, the fewest points he's managed through three games since entering the NHL in 2005, and got his first goal in Wednesday's 4-3 home loss to Toronto.

Through four games last season, Crosby was 2-1-3 on the way to a 51-goal season. He had 6 points after four games in each of his first two seasons.

He's at it again -- After losing his first three starts (one in overtime), Martin Brodeur extended his own NHL record by earning career shutout No. 111 on Wednesday when he made 24 saves in New Jersey's 1-0 overtime win at Buffalo. Perhaps more impressively, it was the 22nd time he's won a game 1-0 (the third in overtime) and the 49th time he's hung a zero on the opposition while getting two goals or less of support.

It also was Brodeur's second career shutout at HSBC Arena -- the 13th visiting building in which he has multiple shutouts. In all, he's had at least one shutout in 28 arenas.

Big Apple Avs -- The Colorado Avalanche begin a three-game tour of the New York metropolitan area Friday when they visit New Jersey. The Avs go to Long Island on Saturday and finish with a visit to the Rangers on Monday -- and they're certainly hoping for a better result than their last trip to the metropolitan area.

Two seasons ago, the Avs became just the sixth team ever to play all three New York-area teams consecutively on the same trip and lose all three games. They were outscored 14-3 while becoming only the second franchise to be swept twice on a New York trip -- the Quebec Nordiques, who relocated to Denver in 1995, were outscored 17-4 while being swept in January 1983.

The Phoenix Coyotes are the only other team this season to make a three-game swing through the New York area -- they visit in mid-December. The Nashville Predators, the only team to make the swing last season, went 1-1-1. The 2006-07 Preds are one of three teams ever to sweep all three games.

Doubling his pleasure at home -- Unfortunately for the Islanders' Blake Comeau, his team is in the midst of a stretch that will see it play 12 of 15 games on the road. It's unfortunate because Comeau has turned into a scoring machine at home.

The 24-year-old forward scored twice in Monday's 6-4 victory against the Rangers at the Nassau Coliseum. It was the fifth time in his last 20 games, dating to Feb. 14, in which he scored two or more goals. Before that, he had played 151 NHL games across three-plus seasons without having a multiple-goal game.

All five of Comeau's multi-goal games have come at the Coliseum -- his last goal away from home came Jan. 9 at Phoenix.

A view to a kill -- Some of last season's weakest penalty-killing teams are off to much better starts this season.

* The Washington Capitals, who finished No. 25 in penalty-killing last season at 78.8 percent, have not been scored on in 15 opportunities through their first four games. The Caps never went more than three consecutive games last season without allowing a power-play goal.

* Toronto, last on the PK in 2009-10 at 74.6 percent, is at 90 percent (9-for-10) after three games. Not coincidentally, the Leafs have won all three.

* Not only have the Florida Panthers not allowed a power-play goal after finishing No. 23 in penalty-killing last season, they're not even giving opponents a lot of opportunities. Despite opening with three games in Western Canada, the Panthers permitted only six opposition power plays and went more than 117 minutes between penalties.


Quote of the Day

When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization. There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago.

— Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to contract extensions