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    Ovechkin has an anti-record streak without goals. Is the pursuit of Gretzky ending?

    The last month of the last calendar year became truly historic for everything world hockey. Then, on December 14, the Washington Capitals beat the Chicago Blackhawks away, and the capital’s leader, Alexander Ovechkin, scored a hat-trick. The Russian goalscorer's third goal in that meeting allowed him to reach the 800-goal mark in his career in the National Hockey League championships. Ovi became only the third player in NHL history to achieve this.
    Almost exactly a year later, Washington, together with Ovechkin, came to Chicago again. During the time that has passed since the capital's last visit to the Blackhawks, a lot has changed: Ovechkin has long been ahead of Gordie Howe and has taken clear second place in the list of the best snipers in the league, the Capitals have a new head coach, and ” Chicago” has recruited a new addition, Connor Bedard, who is predicted to have a great future.

    The new meeting between the Caps and the Hawks was essentially related to the continuity of generations – Ovechkin had already rewritten almost the entire history of the league, now this mission rests on the shoulders of Bedard. It's even somewhat funny that the Canadian forward had not even been born on the day Ovi was selected in the NHL draft. Today they met each other for the first time, and before the match they exchanged several mutual pleasant remarks.

    Both players did not do without effective actions in the head-to-head match. Ovechkin, for example, scored an assist on Dylan Strome's goal, which allowed Washington to take the lead in the match and maintain the winning advantage. Alexander thus exchanged a new hundred points in his career in the NHL championship and, together with Sidney Crosby, rushed after Paul Coffey.

    Bedard also made the list of assists. And twice. The young Canadian forward recorded two assists and extended his lead in the scoring race among NHL rookies. In 27 championship matches, Connor scored 23 points (11+12).
    Washington, having defeated Chicago, remained in the top eight of the Eastern Conference. Moreover, in terms of lost points, the Capitals are ahead of the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning and are among the leaders of the Metropolitan Division. Two wins in a row, eight goals scored in two matches – it seems that no one remembers the disastrous away series that the Caps had just recently. Almost.

    Alexander Ovechkin again failed to score a goal today and extended his streak without scoring goals to ten matches in a row. Thus, the Russian forward repeated his personal record set in the 2016/17 season. Then, from February 22 to March 12, 2017, Ovi also could not score for ten games in a row. The Russian ended up finishing that season with 33 goals. Now it seems that such an indicator for Alexander in the current situation will be excellent. But so far the best Russian sniper in NHL history has only five goals, and almost a third of the season is behind him.
    “I'll say this: I've been a little worried lately. At the beginning of the season, I had the feeling that Ovi had a lot of chances to score, that everything was fine. After all, everyone goes through ups and downs, and if you have chances, then eventually you will you implement them. Recently, these opportunities have begun to dry up. With the exception of moments after won faceoffs. Obviously, Alexander is exhausted by playing in the special teams of the majority. This worries me,” Washington head coach Spencer Carbery said the day before.

    There are several explanations for Ovechkin’s unfortunate statistics. This applies to both Washington's disastrous power play, which has left the Caps worst in the league this season, and the team's overall performance. 64 goals scored in 25 matches – according to this indicator, the Capitals are second only to the San Jose Sharks, the main loser of the season.

    Carbury's system has ceased to take advantage of Ovechkin's strengths – that is, his shooting. All teams in the league have long known how and in what place on the court the Russian is most dangerous. But until this season, no one could handle Ovi's clicks from his own office. Now they are practically non-existent. “Washington” has lost quality in its positional attack and with its combinations does not pose much of a threat that would force opponents to peel away from Ovechkin. In the end, Alexander himself loses activity, which is natural at his age. And in this, of course, there is a small surprise: before the start of the season, he decided to patent his own phrase “I’m okay. Russian machine never breaks” (“I’m okay. Russian machine doesn’t break”), but from the very beginning of the championship stalled powerfully.
    The gap to Wayne Gretzky, meanwhile, is still the same 67 goals.

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