January 11, 2017, 11:15 AM ET [44 Comments]
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The Pittsburgh Penguins will face their rival Washington Capitals tonight in the District of Columbia.
The big storyline heading into tonight’s action is that Alexander Ovechkin is sitting on 999 career points. He has the potential to register his 1,000th career point against the Penguins and Sidney Crosby. I think that is fitting given both the individual and team rivalry that has developed over the years. Yes, Sidney Crosby is going to get to 1,000 points in about 130 less games than Ovechkin, but that doesn’t discredit Ovechkin’s amazing accomplishment. He is certainly one of the best players of his generation and he will go down as one of the best players of all-time.
Alex Ovechkin is scoring goals at a rate that compares favorably to anybody else that has ever played and he is doing it against real goaltenders.
Pretty good company and once again, worth noting the caliber of goaltenders he did it against. If you were to era-adjust Ovechkin’s current goal total he would be at 645 and not 544. Sid would be at 444 instead of 364 for comparison per Hockey Reference. Points wise Ovechkin is at 1159 era-adjusted and 999 raw total. Sidney Crosby is 1,149 era-adjusted and 982 raw total.
Rank Player Years G/A
1. Gordie Howe
Era-adjusted points and era-adjusted goals aren't a perfect formula, but it does do a way better job of comparing players from different eras. The modern players just don’t have the ability to rack up goals and points like their predecessors. Alex Ovechkin is in elite company and he is only going to keep adding to his total.
Chances are Alex Ovechkin will be considered the best pure goal scorer of all-time even if he doesn’t catch the raw totals set by Gretzky’s offensive inflated era.
Aside from Ovechkin chasing a personal milestone this game is important because Pittsburgh is chasing the divisional lead. The Penguins currently have a game in hand on the division leading Blue Jackets and are trailing by three points. After going on an impressive 16 game winning streak the Blue Jackets have come back down to early. They are 1-3 in their last four games and have given up five goals in three of those games. The one victory was not in regulation. That 1-3 record was also against Metropolitan Division opponents.
Pittsburgh and Washington are fairly even on the possession front this year. Washington has a Score-Adjusted Fenwick of 52.7% and Pittsburgh’s is 52.6% heading into tonight.
Braden Holtby has been on fire lately. In all situations Holtby has stopped 81 out of the last 82 shots he has faced in the three games leading up to tonight’s contest.
Washington had been playing without TJ Oshie recently. It looks as though he is healthy enough to return tonight
Kris Letang was ill the other day and that illness has apparently been around the team the past week or so. Calling up David Warsofsky is an insurance policy for the team if any of their defensemen can't go because of illness.
Tristan Jarry being sent down is simply Matt Murray being ready to go again. It remains to be seen who will be in net for Pittsburgh tonight, but Murray is healthy enough to do so which is good news.
Will he or won't he? Al