Statistical analysis: Don't count Alex Ovechkin out just yet
Winning the Art Ross Trophy (awarded for the regular-season scoring title) requires individual skill, a good supporting cast and some lucky bounces. Since the lockout, it has taken at least 112 points to win the scoring title. Miss scoring a point in just one or two games, and it could cost you the trophy come April.
As it stands today, Ovechkin (31 points, 24 games played) is third behind Tampa Bay's Stamkos (38 points, 23 games played) and Pittsburgh's Crosby (37 points, 24 games played) for the NHL points lead, but December and January are typically Ovi's strongest months in a season:
Why he will catch Crosby: The Penguins' captain has seen less of his point totals come from his own goals scored (37 percent) over his career while Ovechkin has seen more than half of his totals from goals he scores himself, putting himself in control of his own destiny. Not to mention Ovechkin's linemates -- Backstrom, Laich, Semin and Knuble -- are superior to Crosby's Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz.
Sure, Crosby shared the Richard Trophy (awarded to the top goal scorer) last year and is on pace for another 50-goal season, but Ovechkin may very well overtake his arch rival in the days leading up to the Winter Classic, buoyed by historically scoring more than twice as many goals per game in December than Crosby.
Why he will catch Stamkos: I mentioned earlier that missing a point in one or two games could cost a player the title. Stamkos was on pace for a 142-point season before being held pointless during a 6-0 blowout against Washington, not only lowering his season projection to a still-impressive 135 points, but possibly costing the young phenom the chance for 50 in 50 as well.
Hot starts are also nothing new for Stamkos, who scored goals at a 22.7 percent rate in October last year, only to slow down in November (20 percent), December (10 percent) and January (13 percent). A lights-out 30 percent shooting percentage in February helped his cause for sharing the Richard Trophy last year but clearly was unsustainable. How Stamkos handles this year's potential December slump will decide if he is even in the conversation come April.
Ovechkin has his work cut out for him, but the top line is "back on track," and over the last two games The Great 8 has been on the ice for nearly two thirds (25 of 37) of Washington's scoring chances. While he may be the underdog, Ovechkin is not a long shot by any means. So don't count him out just yet.
| November 28, 2010; 7:04 AM ET
Categories: Alex Ovechkin, Statistical analysis
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