Alex Ovechkin was the greatest goal scorer in the NHL for the first five seasons of his career, then the Washington Capitals wing wasn't for a two-season stretch when his game was dissected, his coach changed twice, and Steven Stamkos entered the early stages of the prime of his career.
If it weren't for an injury to Stamkos, it could be quite a battle between him and Ovechkin for sniping supremacy in 2013-14. Ovechkin is not only back to his supreme scoring ways, he's racking up goals at a clip even better than his previous heights.
Ovechkin has 26 goals in 29 games this season. He has 48 in his past 50 games, and 49 in his past 52 dating to the start of a season-ending flurry of 23 in 23 to finish 2012-13.
NEW YORK - Philadelphia Flyers forward Brayden Schenn has been fined $2,230.77. the maximum permitted under the CBA, for cross-checking Chicago forward Kris Versteeg in NHL Game No. 471 in Chicago on Wednesday, Dec. 11, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.
The incident occurred at 13:25 of the second period. No penalty was assessed to Schenn on the play.
The fine money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
What do you do for an encore after scoring four goals your previous game? If you're Alex Ovechkin, you try to get 50 goals in a stretch of 50 games played.
Ovechkin enters the Washington Capitals' road game against the Florida Panthers on Friday night with 48 goals in his previous 50 appearances dating to March 17, when he scored against the Buffalo Sabres. That includes a four-goal performance against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday in Washington's 6-5 shootout victory. Ovi would need a hat trick against Florida to get 50 in 50 games played -- but the Panthers have always been one of his favorite victims. Ovechkin has 30 goals and 61 points in 47 career games against Florida; he was out with an injury when the Capitals won 3-2 in a shootout at home Nov. 2.
By doing so, they were the first teams to reach 82 regular-season games played since the start of the 2012-13 campaign. Much of what was written last season came with the caveats about a shortened season and small sample sizes.
The 82-game benchmark is a good place to stop and admire the dominance of the Blackhawks, while trying to decipher if the 2013-14 Ducks are more like the team from the first half of last season or the one from the second half.
It is getting closer to decision time for United States general manager David Poile and his staff as they choose a roster that will travel to the 2014 Sochi Olympics with gold-medal expectations.
Poile spoke Thursday about the selection procedure, which is nearing its final stages. The team will be announced Jan. 1 at the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
"The whole process of putting this team together has been fascinating and a fabulous experience for all of us," Poile said. "When you work in a committee situation with my associate GM Ray Shero and Brian Burke, who was the GM in 2010, and five other general managers, you can't believe the diversity of opinions on players and the formation of a team. It is a unique experience that is almost indescribable."
CALGARY -- Carolina Hurricanes forward Elias Lindholm left in the first period of the game against the Calgary Flames on Thursday after a hard hit by Calgary defenseman Mark Giordano. He did not return.
Giordano checked Lindholm in front of the Flames bench at 7:53 of the first. Lindholm immediately skated to the Hurricanes bench before walking off to the dressing room. The rookie finished with 2:57 of ice time.
NEW YORK -- Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Curtis McElhinney left the game Thursday against the New York Rangers with a lower-body injury after playing one period. The injury is not considered serious and McElhinney will be re-evaluated Friday by the Blue Jackets medical staff.
"He's going to get checked out tomorrow," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "Right now, it's nothing serious. But he'll get checked out by our doctors tomorrow."
Cizikas was injured in a collision with Phoenix defenseman Connor Murphy while he was forechecking on his fourth shift of the night. He saw 2:31 of ice time before leaving.
PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers forward Steve Downie needed help leaving the ice after a hit from Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin late in the second period of their game Thursday. He returned to take nine shifts in the third period.
Downie had the puck in the Philadelphia end when he was hit in his head by Emelin. Downie remained down on the ice while play went the other way. Downie eventually got to his feet and skated off slowly with Flyers trainer Jim McCrossin walking next to him.
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