Capitals

Pastrnak vs. Ovechkin: The rivalry that could end Ovechkin’s run as scoring champion

Capitals

As the midway point of another NHL season approaches, predictably Alex Ovechkin sits among the top goal-scorers in the league. His 22 goals in 37 games ties him with Leon Draisaitl for fourth overall in the NHL. Not so predictably is the man who leads the league. Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak is pacing the NHL with 28 goals.

Ovechkin has won two straight Rocket Richard Trophies and six of the last seven as the league’s top goal scorer. With a six-goal lead over the Great 8, however, Pastrnak threatens to end that streak this season.

That Pastrnak is a superstar player should come as no surprise. He is a part of the Bruin’s top line that also includes Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, widely considered to be among the two best lines in hockey (rivaled only by the top line in Colorado). He has scored over 30 goals in each of the past three seasons and recorded 80 or more points in each of the past two.

At 23, however, he has exploded and is on pace to shatter his previous career highs in goals (38) and points (81). He already has 28 goals and 51 points and Boston is not even halfway through its schedule yet.

    What is especially impressive about Pastrnak's season -- and another reason to believe he is not going to fall off his incredible goal-scoring pace -- is that he has been a pretty consistent producer throughout the first half of the season. He does have two hat tricks this season, one of which was actually a four-goal game, but he has not gone longer than four games without a goal.

     

    And while Pasrtnak is leading Ovechkin in the overall stats this season, he is also getting the better of Great 8 in the head-to-head matchup.

    In the two previous games between Washington and Boston, Pastrnak has scored a goal in each. Ovechkin has yet to record a point.

    What would losing out on the Rocket Richard Trophy really mean to Ovechkin who has already won it eight times? Would he really think back to this season and regret not being able to take No. 9? Perhaps it would not bother him...in the future. The competitive nature of all professional athletes, however, would suggest that while it would not be a huge deal to win it, that doesn't mean he would be OK with losing it. Plus, at 34 years old, winning the goal-scoring title is going to become more difficult with every passing year. If he does not win it this year, it is possible that we may have already seen him win his last one.

    Monday's game between the Bruins and Caps will be the last chance for Ovechkin to send a message to Partnak. He's won the Rocket Richard eight times and if Pastrnak wants it, he's going to have to get through Ovechkin to do it.

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