Another night, another game, another goal for Alex Ovechkin.
Ovechkin continued his unbelievable start to the season on Friday night with his ninth goal of the season in the Capitals’ 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils.
He has those nine goals in just five games.
Pretty impressive numbers, yes? When you dig a little deeper below the surface those numbers become even more impressive than they first appear.
First, consider that Ovechkin is only the third player in the past 30 seasons to score at least nine goals in his team’s first five games, joining a list that includes only Mario Lemieux and Patrick Marleau (another reminder that Patrick Marleau has been a better player than he ever gets credit for being).
Obviously, that makes it the best start to a season for Ovechkin in his career. Compare how it looks to his previous starts through five games and where he ended up finishing each season.
Before this season he had never scored more than five goals in his first nine games. He has nearly doubled that total this season. He is over a quarter of the way to his goal scoring total from all of last season.
But this is just not the best start to a season of his career. This is simply the best goal-scoring stretch of his entire career. At any point in any season.
Prior to this run the best five-game run of his career has been eight goals in five games (something he has done four different times — most recently during the 2012-13 season).
Ovechkin is one of the greatest goal scorers to ever play in the NHL, probably in the top-three, and right now he is scoring goals at a pace unlike any other time in his career.
Maybe Barry Trotz knew what the heck he was talking about before the season when he said the bar was still set at 50.