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This article was published 10/12/2015 (2232 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Through his first 10 NHL seasons, Ovechkin has scored at least 50 goals six times, with his biggest total coming in the 2007-08 season when he netted 65. He's never registered fewer than 30 goals in a season, including the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign when he scored 32 times in 48 games.
It was nothing short of impressive when Jets defenceman Tyler Myers keep him off the scoresheet Saturday, limiting Ovechkin to just five shots in a 2-1 overtime win over the Capitals at the MTS Centre. So impressive, in fact, we've decided to dedicate the entire second episode of The Whiteboard with J.P. Vigier to dissecting Myers' one-on-one matchup with the league's most prolific scorer.
To make sense of it all, Vigier, a former NHLer with the Atlanta Thrashers, lists four ingredients in the perfect recipe for stopping Ovechkin.
"Gap control means being close to the opposition even if he doesn't have the puck," says Vigier. "A lot of players give Ovechkin a lot of room because they respect him. By being close to him, it nullifies the opportunity of him getting the puck and even if he does get the puck, closing that gap will prevent him from having the room to be creative and the chance to beat you with his speed and size.
"It takes a lot of confidence in one's ability to do that because it's easy to back off and create space to allow you more time to attack. But to be right on top, creating a battle, that takes confidence and a lot of work and Tyler Myers did that to a tee."
Stick on puck
"When Ovechkin does have the puck, Myers is able to utilize his long reach, having his stick right on the puck; not on Ovechkin's stick, slashing him, but having his stick on the ice directed right at the puck so he can't make a move, a pass or a shot," adds Vigier. "With his stick in the right spot, if he does try something, it's likely the puck gets deflected in the air or he loses control."
"Many times in the game Myers showed great body position, where he was able to keep Ovechkin to the outside, instead of allowing him to get to a greater scoring position. By keeping him to the outside, he's less dangerous and that way if he does get a shot off, it's not coming from a prime scoring area. He's very dangerous in the slot area in front of the net, so keeping him more towards the boards and into the corners, he's less likely to create havoc."
Vigier also gives credit to the rest of the Jets, who were able to support Myers with strong gap control and defensive-zone awareness while Ovechkin was on the ice. If that support wasn't there, says Vigier, it would have made it a long night for Myers. For a full analysis of the matchup, including video, visit us online at www.winnipegfreepress.com.
- Jeff Hamilton/@jeffkhamilton