A revival of the classic Crosby vs. Ovechkin debate – Miller takes a look at the Capitals’ turnaround and the Penguins’ surge
Over the Capitals last five games, they have four wins and a respectable 2-1 loss to the surging Penguins. In those four victories, Washington has scored 18 goals. So have they turned an imaginary corner or is this just a brief illusion of past scoring success?
This team has always had the talent to score, it’s just they had what some would call a period of adjustment (sadly measured in years) to a more responsible style. Let’s take a gander at how some of their key players have done over the last little while:
Alexander Ovechkin has a five game goal streak on the go, including six goals and nine points over that stretch. His 16 goals on the season have him sixth in league goal scoring and his 136 shots on goal are tied with Evander Kane for the most taken in the NHL. More than that, he looks like he’s regained some of his swagger over the last half dozen games or so. His switch to the right side seems to be paying off, although three of those six goals have come via the power play. He was named NHL First Star of the Week.
Nicklas Backstrom has seven points in his last five matches. He will be a key player to Ovechkin’s return to prominence. Backstrom is one of the best set up men in the league, twice finishing in the top three in assists. The slick 25-year-old recorded 101 points back in 2009-10 and now has 29 points in 32 contests this season.
Mike Ribeiro is the team’s leading point-getter with 34 points in 32 games. Heading into last night’s games, he sat 10th in league scoring. Ribeiro recorded 71 points in 2010-11, 78 in 2008-09 and a career-high 83 points back in 2007-08. He has played well this year and by all accounts, has matured as a player and team mate and is playing for a contract.
Troy Brouwer is one of those players who doesn’t have name value. His career high is only 40 points set back in 2009-10, then with Chicago, where he won a Cup. After Ovechkin and Backstrom, Brouwer averages the most minutes amongst forwards on the team and receives top unit power play time. He has five points in his last five games. Brouwer has bee