Ovechkin approaches Andreychuk’s power play goals record


The striker has scored 272 power play goals in his career, two just short of the league record set by Dave Andreychuk, ESPN +, NHL LIVE).

“It’s going to be a very interesting moment for me and, I think, for the league to just get this (record) and become number 1,” said Ovechkin.

Ovechkin’s hunt for Wayne Gretzky’s NHL record of 894 goals has attracted more attention this season. The Capitals captain has scored 15 goals in Washington’s first 20 games, increasing his total to 745 and climbing to fourth place in league history with Marcel Dionne (731) and Brett Hull (741).

But Ovechkin still has 150 goals ahead of Gretzky and has often warned: “Let’s not look too far.”

Andreychuk’s record is right in Ovechkin’s sights, however, after scoring his third power play goal of the season with one of his unique one-timers from the left circle in Saturday’s 4-0 win at the San Jose Sharks.

Without the coronavirus pandemic that ended the 2019-20 regular season when the Capitals had 13 games left and cut last season down to 56 games, Ovechkin would likely have already overtaken Andreychuk.

Andreychuk, who retired in 2006 after 23 NHL seasons, has long expected this.

“I know the consistency in his game,” said Andreychuk. “We know that this is a big part of him, this power game. If he stayed healthy and wanted to play, he would eventually pass me by.”

Video: WSH @ SJS: Ovechkin rocks Carlson One Timer for PPG

Ovechkin has led the NHL on power play goals six times in its first 16 seasons with Washington, including five straight from 2012-13 to 2016-17. Ovechkin scored 13 power play goals in 68 games in the 2019-20 season and nine in 45 games last season, but in the previous six seasons, the 36-year-old averaged 20 power play goals, including an NHL career high of 25 inches 2014-15.

With strikers Nicklas Backstrom, who failed to play due to a hip injury, and TJ Oshie, who was limited to eight games due to a lower body injury, two key wheels missing, Capitals power play has started slowly this season. Converting at 18 percent (20th in the NHL) compared to 24.8 percent (third) last season.

For the past seven seasons, Washington has had the same five players working within its 1-3-1 power play system for the past seven seasons: Ovechkin in left circle, defender John Carlson at the point, Backstrom on the right half of the wall, Oshie in the “bumper” position in the slot and in front Evgeny Kuznetsov right of the net.

Ovechkin points to this familiarity as the main reason for his consistency in power play.

“We basically know exactly what we’re doing out there,” he said. “If we move the puck correctly, if we do good right away, it always happens.”

Andreychuk did not have the same staff for long in his well-traveled career, which included stints with the Buffalo Sabers, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning, although he also worked with high-end Talents like Alexander Mogilny and Pat LaFontaine with the Sabers and Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark with the Maple Leafs.

Andreychuk led the league with 28 power play goals in 80 games with Buffalo in 1991-92 and an NHL career high of 32 in 83 games with the Sabers and Maple Leafs in 1992-93, down from 34 with the Philadelphia Flyers in set in 1985-86.

“I have good players who shoot me. I have good players who suit me,” said Andreychuk. “Kind of like ‘Ovi’, right?”

While Ovechkin and Andreychuk share a talented supporting cast, they have otherwise taken very different paths to the top of the power play target list.

Ovechkin has proven himself from his place in the left circle. NHL.com recorded each of Ovechkin’s 272 power play goals, and 110 (40.4 percent) were scored once from the left circle or above.

Conversely, Andreychuk played mainly at a time when power games were heavily dependent on players standing in front of the net. Andreychuk made his living there, scoring points with distractions and rebounds.

“I think I have scored 600 goals or more once in my career,” said Andreychuk, who is 15 years oldNS in NHL history with a total of 640 goals. “So yes, very different. Opposites, right? … It was a different game. It was a different style.

Andreychuk’s final 2005-06 season was also Ovechkin’s rookie season, but Ovechkin only remembers “I remember he was a great guy”.

Andreychuk used his 6-foot-4,225-pound frame to fend off aggressive defenders trying to break him off the net front. It also helped to have skilled and quick hands to divert shots and get hold of loose pucks.

“It was a different hockey back then,” said Ovechkin. “I played for Dynamo in Russia (Moscow in the KHL before I got into the NHL) and it was a different hockey, so I know how it was. … So if you have such a large body, of course you have to use it. “.”

Ovechkin also has a large body (6-3, 238) and sometimes uses it to get to the top of the web. He has scored two goals from distraction this season and two of his three power play goals have scored rebounds.

But Ovechkin’s One-Timer remains his most feared weapon. In fact, the development of the power games has put a greater emphasis on this during his career.

Ovechkin has scored 89 of his goals since the start of the 2012/13 season, when then Capitals coach Adam Oates introduced the 1-3-1 alignment that is common today, in which the one-timer from the circle was one of the main components Goals (55.3 percent) for one-time players from the left circle or above.

Andreychuk, now Vice President of Corporate and Community Affairs at Lightning, sees a similar lead in Tampa Bay Steven Stamkos, who also plays in the left circle on power play, and a model example in Hull.

Although Hull played before the 1-3-1, he also relied on a once-in-a-lifetime experience that helped him score 265 power play goals, the third highest in NHL history, before retiring in 2005.

“There are guys who were similar,” said Andreychuk. “But you know, let’s be honest [Ovechkin is] at the top of the class. “

Although Ovechkin identified more with Hull because of their unique opportunities, he remarked again, “Back then, hockey was different, the system was different. The goalkeepers were different.

Hull doesn’t like to compare the two or just attribute Ovechkin’s powerplay production to its one-timer.

“If the puck goes into the net, it’s a goal, whether it’s that nice one-timer or a guy who goes through the whole team, like Denis Savard or Patrick Kane“Hull said.” A goal is a goal, and getting to it as many times as possible is the great thing.


Comments are closed.