Crunching numbers in advance of impending back-to-back Pens-Caps battles:
-The Pens must contend with a hot Alex Ovechkin (10 goals, 19 points in his last 15 games) tonight in D.C. and again tomorrow night at CONSOL Energy Center, a development they must have seen coming.
Ovechkin is sizzling toward the conclusion of a white-hot calendar year with 67 goals in his last 84 games (March 14, 2013 through Saturday).
As for this season, Ovie leads the NHL in goals (44), power-play goals (18), overtime goals (three) and shots (328).
And since entering the NHL at the beginning of the 2005-06 season Ovechkin ranks first in the NHL in goals (415), points (802), power-play goals (145), power-play points (314) and game-winning goals (67).
No, he does not have a Stanley Cup.
But the argument that Ovechkin doesn’t produce in the clutch doesn’t hold up to statistical inspection.
Ovechkin’s career average of 1.052 points per postseason game trails Sidney Crosby’s figure of 1.280 (fourth all-time behind Wayne Gretzky, 1.837; Mario Lemieux, 1.607; and Barry Pederson, 1.529). But Ovechkin’s number is better than those posted by the likes of Guy Lafleur (1.047), Gordie Howe (1.019), Jaromir Jagr (0.985), Stan Mikita (0.968), Maurice “Rocket” Richard (0.947) and Steve Yzerman (0.944), among many others.
As usual, Ovie will be a load.
-Dan Bylsma is fast approaching another record at the expense of an old nemesis.
With 243 wins in 382 games behind the Penguins’ bench, Bylsma is closing in on becoming the fastest coach in NHL history to post 250 wins.
That’s a distinction that currently belongs to current Ducks and former Caps coach Bruce Boudreau (416 games). San Jose’s Todd McLellan came up just shy in his pursuit of Boudreau (424 games).
Boudreau will likely retain the NHL record for barbecue sauce on the face on HBO.
-The Penguins are running away with the Metropolitan Division because they’ve been dominating the Metropolitan Division, to the tune of 17-5-1 in division games.
They get another back-to-back matchup with the Flyers this weekend after dealing with the Caps.
-Marc-Andre Fleury’s recent track record against the Caps suggests he’s positioned to build on his stellar performance on Friday night in Anaheim. Fleury is 5-0-0 with a 1.79 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage in his last five starts against Washington.