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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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Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

Vincent Trocheck scored on the power play with 18.7 seconds remaining and the Panthers escaped with a 3-2 victory on an emotional night in Sunrise, Fla.

Trocheck’s goal was Florida’s second in the final four minutes…and the Caps were left to lament yet another incomplete performance. Washington has now lost three of its last four games and fell to 4-5-2 in February.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Vincent Trocheck, Panthers

Trocheck did what Trocheck does in the third period: The Florida forward scored a clutch goal in the final seconds, redirecting a Jonathan Huberdeau shot through Brooks Orpik’s legs and past Braden Holtby.

Eller was in the penalty box when Trocheck scored his 13th third period goal of the season.

2-Andre Burakovsky, Capitals

After losing a goal to Eller in the first period, Burakovsky made sure he didn’t go home empty-handed. No. 65 scored on the power play in the second period to put the Caps ahead 2-1.

It was Burakovsky’s third goal in six games. He also earned a secondary assist on Eller’s redirection score.   

3-Braden Holtby, Capitals

Following a handful of un-Holtby-like performances lately, Holtbeast roared Thursday night at BB&T Center. He made at least one game-saving stop in each period: an arm save on Trocheck in the first period; a pad stop on Denis Malgin in the second and another extended pad stop on Evgenii Dadonov in the third. Holtby finished with 30 stops.

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

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4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps

4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps

The Caps looked like they had the win in hand as they led 2-1 late in the third period, but things went off the rails in the final four minutes in a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers

Here's how the Caps lost.

An emotional start for Robert Luongo

Before the game, Roberto Luongo took the mic during an emotional tribute to the victims of the tragic Stoneman Douglas school shooting. As a writer, it was hard to get into the game after that. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for Luongo to focus to actually play in the game. But he did. He started off very well, making several strong saves in the first period. Washington scored late in the opening period after an offensive cycle of over a minute that completely wore out the Panthers' skaters. Otherwise, Luongo was brilliant turning aside 13 of the 14 shots he faced in the opening 20 minutes.

Another shaky start for Braden Holtby

This was the best game we have seen from Braden Holtby in a while as he made a number of phenomenal saves in the second and third period. In the first, however, he continued to struggle. Maxim Mamin scored his first career NHL goal and point as a puck trickled through Holtby and Mamin was able to slam it home. Holtby was dealing with a screen, but reacted late to the initial shot and late to Mamin.

Aleksander Barkov splitting Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson

With a 2-1 lead late in the third, the Caps looked like they had control. But with less than four minutes remaining, Aleksander Barkov was able to split Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson to set up Nick Bjugstad for the game-tying goal. Ovechkin was backchecking, Carlson stepped up on him and then...nothing. It looked as if both players thought the other would take Barkov and Ovechkin let up at the same time Carlson skated past giving Barkov a lane to the net.

A late penalty to Lars Eller

With the game tied late, the Caps were exerting their will in the offensive zone with the cycle that had been dominant all game long...and then Lars Eller tried to set a pick on Bjugstad, knocking him to the ice. It was an obvious interference call with just 42 seconds remaining in the game. Florida would score 22 seconds later to deny Washington not only the win, but a point as well.