After taking a closer look at Alex Ovechkin’s recent struggles, Barry Trotz said he’s come to a couple of conclusions: the Caps’ captain has played solidly without the puck but he also needs to put more pucks on net.
“We did some stat stuff on him and I thought he’s playing really well,” Trotz said after the morning skate on Tuesday.
“You can tell by the way he’s skating. We do chances for and against—and who’s causing the chances against. When you’re cheating, those are one sided on the wrong side because you’re trying to do something on the other side.”
The coach added: “He hasn’t done that.”
But Ovechkin hasn’t been scoring, either. And that’s becoming an issue for the skidding Caps, who are mired in a rare four-game losing streak and have averaged 2.2 goals per game since returning from the six-day bye week 12 games ago.
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-- Ovechkin’s 10-game drought is the longest of his 12-year NHL career.
-- He has two goals in the last 17 games.
-- No. 8’s last 5-on-5 goal came Jan. 26, or 20 games ago.
-- The 31-year-old has just two points in the last nine games, a primary assist vs. Anaheim and a secondary assist on the power play vs. Philly.
-- In the last 14 contests, three times Ovechkin did not record a shot on goal. That’s only happened nine times in his 907 career games. Additionally, he’s currently on pace for 304 shots. He averaged 393 shots per season the previous three years.
Asked what his message to Ovechkin has been, Trotz said he’s told the six-time goal scoring champion that he needs to get back to doing what he does best: hammer more one-timers. And be more accurate with all of his shots.
“He’s not quite shooting enough of those one-timers when he gets an opportunity,” Trotz said. “They’re just not sitting flat for him right now. And he’s just missing the net a little bit. If he starts shooting a little bit more off that one timer and hitting the net a little bit more they’re going to go in, no question. His work ethic, his skating and all that, it’s all there. It’s just got to happen for him. You can’t get frustrated and cheat in other areas. He’s not doing that, which is a good sign.”
It's similar to the advice Trotz gave Ovechkin two weeks ago when Ovechkin failed to register a shot in two of four games.
Ovechkin said he agrees with Trotz’s assessment.
“I just have to shoot the puck more,” Ovechkin said. “That’s the key to success.”
Ovechkin also insisted that he’s not frustrated and hinted that he’s more concerned about his team’s four-game losing streak rather than his personal stats.
“I don’t get frustrated or something,” Ovechkin said. “Right now we have more thoughts about how we have to win a game and bounce back and be in first position.”