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Oddsmakers name Ovechkin the favorite for the 'Rocket' Richard Trophy

Oddsmakers name Ovechkin the favorite for the 'Rocket' Richard Trophy

Alex Ovechkin's 33 goals last season were the fewest he has scored since 2012-13...when the Caps played only 48 games in a lockout shortened season. You  have to go back to 2010-11 for the last time Ovechkin managed fewer than 33 goals in a full season. At 32 years old, some have wondered whether this signaled Ovechkin's decline, but the oddsmakers seem to disagree.

The betting site Bovada released their updated award odds for the NHL regular season and Ovechkin is the favorite to win the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the NHL's top goal scorer at 5/1.

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Sidney Crosby won the award in 2016-17 with 44 goals, snapping a streak of four straight seasons in which Ovechkin claimed the award. The lowest goal total to ever win the award is 41 when Rich Nash, Jarome Iginla and Ilya Kovalchuk all finished with the same goal total and split the award in 2003-04. To win the award, Ovechkin would have to have a bounce back year in which he would almost certainly need to pass the 40-goal mark.

Here is Bovada's full list of oddsfor the Rocket Richard Trophy:

Alexander Ovechkin 5/1
Vladimir Tarasenko  11/2
Sidney Crosby 7/1
Patrik Laine 7/1
Auston Matthews 7/1
Nikita Kucherov 8/1
Steven Stamkos 8/1
Connor McDavid 10/1
Patrick Kane 11/1
Brad Marchand 12/1
Jamie Benn 16/1
Evgeni Malkin 16/1
Max Pacioretty 16/1
Tyler Seguin 16/1

The oddsmakers seem to have plenty of faith in the Caps' stars this season as they show up on the lists for other awards.

Braden Holtby, Matt Murray and Carey Price are the three favorites to win the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goalie as each netminder comes in at 5/1. Backstrom is tied for fourth for the Art Ross Trophy at 12/1, while Ovechkin sits at 22/1.

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Avalanche

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USA TODAY Sports

3 reasons the Caps beat the Avalanche

They picked up right where they left off at home as they returned to Washington and defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-2. Here is how the Caps were able to put last night's loss behind them and earn the win.

A better start

Against the Islanders on Monday, the Caps lacked energy early on and allowed a goal to Brock Nelson just 2:36 into the contest. Tuesday’s start had a much different feel to it. The Caps were moving their feet, moving the puck and creating sustained zone pressure. This time it was Washington who took the early lead as Jakub Vrana netted a goal just 5:25 in.

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Braden Holtby’s breakaway save on Colin Wilson

With the score tied at one in the second period, Colin Wilson was handed a gift from Brooks Orpik. As Orpik skated up the ice to his left, the rest of his teammates all skated right leaving him no one to pass too. Feeling the forecheck, Orpik tried the cross-ice pass, but it was intercepted by Wilson and there were no Caps in site. Wilson had scored Colorado's first goal and looked like he was about the score the second on the breakaway. Instead, he was denied by Holtby. Just 4:29 later, John Carlson tallied the go-ahead goal for Washington. That is essentially a two-goal swing in five minutes.

The penalty kill

The Caps took four penalties on the night and two of them were from one of their top defenseman in John Carlson. Colorado, however, walked away with nothing to show for it. The Caps took one penalty in the first and two in the second when the game was still in doubt. If they had given up a goal on any of those opportunities, it likely is a very different game. Instead, Washington killed off all four penalties they faced making sure the power play was not a factor for the Avalanche.

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Tarik's Three Stars of Capitals-Avalanche: That's more like it

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Tarik's Three Stars of Capitals-Avalanche: That's more like it

WASHINGTON — One night after struggling in Brooklyn, Evgeny Kuznetsov and the Caps rebounded with a solid 5-2 victory over Nathan MacKinnon and the Avalanche at Capital One Arena.

The last 10 games for the Caps? How about 8-2-0?

In fact, it’s now been a month since Washington has lost back-to-back games. 

Here are Tarik El-Bashir's 3 stars of the game.

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No. 1 Brett Connolly, Capitals:

Since getting scratched late last month, Connolly has been one of the Caps’ most productive players.

And that did not change against the Avs. No. 10 put the game out of reach, 3-1, early in the third period, firing a pass from Madison Bowey past Semyon Varlamov and into a yawning net on a delayed penalty.

The goal was Connolly’s fourth goal in six games…all since getting scratched by Coach Barry Trotz for ineffectiveness. Bowey, meantime, recorded a pair of assists for his second multi-point game.  

No. 2 Jakub Vrana, Capitals:

The speedy winger put the Caps up 1-0 early in the first period with a perfectly-placed snipe over Varlamov’s blocker.

The goal was Vrana’s ninth of the season and fifth in the last 10 games. The rookie is now on pace for 24 goals—the number Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams each hit a year ago. 

No. 3  Evgeny Kuznetsov, Capitals:

Kuznetsov finished the game with a couple of primary assists and a secondary helper. It marked his fourth performance this season with at least three points. And while big nights from No. 92 have become almost commonplace, they're still something to savor. Sorta like that pass to Matt Niskanen on the Caps' fourth goal.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.