Friday, March 6, 2009

Nobody shoots like Ovechkin

Friday, 03.06.2009 / 9:58 AM / By the Numbers
By John Kreiser - Columnist

Whoever came up with the old adage, "you can't score if you don't shoot" must have had Alex Ovechkin in mind.Ovechkin is on his way to leading the NHL in goals for the second consecutive season. But he's also got a runaway lead -- again -- in shots on goal.Ovechkin reached the 400-shot mark for the third time in four seasons last Saturday during the Washington Capitals' 4-3 overtime victory at Boston. No other player has as many as 300 -- Carolina's Eric Staal is second at 293.Ovechkin is well on his way to surpassing his career-high total of 446, set last season when he scored 65 goals. The reigning Hart Trophy winner also had 425 shots as a rookie in 2005-06, when he scored 52 times, and 392 during a 46-goal season in 2006-07.Ovechkin’s season of 400 or more shots on goal is just the 13th in NHL history. Phil Esposito did it four times with Boston, and Espo holds the all-time single-season record of 550 shots on goal, set in 1970-71 -- when he scored 76 goals. Esposito is the only NHL player ever to surpass 500 shots in a season, though with an average of 6.6 shots per game, Ovechkin is in line to become the second. Despite sitting out Thursday with a heel injury, Ovechkin is on a pace to finish with 522 shots on goal.
Esposito and Ovechkin are the only players in league history with multiple 400-shot seasons. The other six players who have reached 400 once are Paul Kariya, Bobby Hull, Bobby Orr, Brett Hull, Pavel Bure and Jaromir Jagr. Prior to Ovechkin, Kariya was the last player to surpass 400 shots with 429 in 1998-99. But Kariya wasn't nearly as accurate as Ovechkin, who has posted shooting percentages ranging from 11.1 percent to 14.6 percent in his 400-shot seasons. Kariya scored just 39 goals on his 429 shots, a 9.1 percent success rate.
By John Kreiser - Columnist

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