27-year-old forward Alex Ovechkin’s struggles this season have paralleled the Washington Capitals, but there might be a glimmer of hope for both of them.
Although Ovechkin’s transition to the right wing has been a rough one, it’s starting to pay dividends. The Russian star found is riding a four-game point streak after finding the back of the net in Washington’s 5-0 victory over Florida on Saturday.
“All the reads are different [from the right side of the ice,]” Capitals coach Adam Oates said, according to CSN Washington. “Every little decision is a little different. To me he’s getting 10 chances [a game] that he never got before.”
Part of what the shift does is force Ovechkin to come up with new moves to replace the ones that have grown stale and predictable over the years.
To that end, playing alongside 33-year-old forward Mike Ribeiro has also helped. The Capitals acquired Ribeiro from the Dallas Stars in June.
“I told him a few times to shoot for different spots,” Ribeiro said. “Goalies are more patient on him, waiting for his high shots.
“If he can go five-hole a few times he can make those guys think a little bit more than if he goes high glove all the time. Now if the goalie sees he went five-hole a few times he might go down a little faster. He can play with their minds a little more.”
Ovechkin will attempt to extend his point streak to five contests in a rematch against the Panthers tonight.