Short answer: Yes.
Short answer with further explanation: You never can be too sure.
One game remains on the schedule for both teams. The Washington Capitals will take on the Florida Panthers Saturday at 7pm while the Pens hit the road in Montreal at the same date and time.
Evgeni Malkin holds a strong four-point lead over Alex Ovechkin, leading many to believe the Art Ross trophy is as good as his. Hooks mentioned in last night's recap that if Ovechkin can pick up four points or more on Saturday then he deserves the trophy.
So, is it possible? Hey, anything is. I'll admit that I'm not much a stats guy because I don't think you can weigh all that much talent in numbers alone. However I had to look into this from all possible angles.
|Alex Ovechkin vs Panthers|
Statistically Ovechkin averages a little over 1.5 points per game against the Panthers. Had his February 15 performance mimicked that of either of the earlier ones than perhaps there'd be no room for analysis. As clearly indicated in the table, Ocho came up big in his last outing against the Panthers. You can also factor in Ovie's four point games this season - all three of em against teams outside the playoff picture.
Hypothetical situation: If AO picks up four points against the Panthers and Malkin is held scoreless, Ovechkin takes the Art Ross because he has more goals.
But can the Habs keep Malkin on lockdown?
|Evgeni Malkin vs. Canadiens
Take a look at that December 27 game and you'll get your answer. Malkin averages one point per game against the Habs this season, slightly lower than Ovie's p/pg against the Cats.
This post shouldn't pose as the be-all, end-all truth that Malkin is already the Art Ross winner. His four-point lead is a clear indicator that his chances are above and beyond great. But numbers can only tell so much. Who's to say how determined Ovechkin will be Saturday or how well the Habs will work to contain Malkin? No charts can dictate that.