|2008 - Evgeni Malkin||35||78||113||17||80|
|2008 - Alex Ovechkin||56||54||110||8||72|
Talk about a great race for the title. On a night where picking up one point would easily set him apart from Alex Ovechkin, Malkin tallied the game's first goal in a 3-1 win over the Habs. Ovechkin put in a two-point effort as well in Florida but the gap was too big to come in any closer.
So do we have ourselves an MVP candidate or what? Is this the year where Malkin sweeps in and takes the hardware?
There's no denying Ovechkin's versatility. The guy brings it every night and leaves it all on the ice. His speed, intensity and passion is rivaled by only a select few in the league. In the end he fell only three points short of the scoring title.
Three points isn't all that much, especially when you consider the three games Ovie missed this season.
I'd imagine no fan base (yes, Capitals and Flyers included) is cold enough to hold Ovechkin guilty for missing the October 28 game against the Predators and November 1 game against the Sabres. After all, his grandfather passed away and anyone with a heart can only assume what he must have gone through at the time when he opted to return home to be with his family. Outside of that leave of absense, the only other game Ovechkin missed was on March 5 against the Leafs (foot injury).
Malkin, on the other hand, put in a complete 82-game season despite a few occasions where he was admittedly under the weather. All in all both players had a healthy, injury-free season.
Given circumstances of the season Malkin won the title fair and square. Yet in the back of your mind - no matter how buried it may be - do you think Ovechkin would've won if given a full 82 games to work with?
If we're basing an answer off of stats then the answer is best addressed as, "It still would've been a close one." Even in a 113-point tie Ovechkin would have won based on the premise that he accumulated more goals.
Factor in how he performed against those teams throughout the season:
- In one game against the Preds Ovechkin picked up an assist.
- In three games against the Sabres he tallied 2G, 2A.
- In three games against the Leafs, 3G, 1A.
Take Ocho's average point total against each team, add it together and you get roughly 3.6 points.
So in stats alone, yes - but just barely. Keep in mind he was also held scoreless in one game against the Leafs and Sabres as well so really it could have swayed in either direction. Plus, it's not like you can really dismiss a guy for winning the Maurice Richard Trophy...
This is the last place you'll see us take anything away from Malkin. But given the intensity of the race I just figured we could provide a little food for thought and give credit to each player where credit is due.