This fact bodes well for the team's so-called star players who are now relied upon less & less to help keep the team afloat with their offensive production.
This includes the team's bonafide #1 star attraction, Alexander Ovechkin. Which is good because whether people realize it or not, Ovechkin is on quite a goal-scoring slump if you include pre-season & the world championships.
Going back to the final playoff game versus Tampa Bay last season, 5 IIHF world championship games with Russia in which he was pointless, 5 pre-season games and the first two regular season games, Alex Ovechkin has not scored a goal in 13 consecutive matches.
Yes, you can argue that five of those games were fairly meaningless (preseason). But still, that leaves eight straight meaningful games without a goal (playing for Russia means a lot for Ovie) - something that would've seem unfathomable just a few seasons ago.
What's missing? For me - watching Ovechkin closely since his first game six years ago - it appears that, A) He just doesn't have that extra drive, tenacity or gear to do whatever it takes to score a goal, and B) His shot - especially slap shot - is much less accurate these days.
Can Alex Ovechkin turn it around and challenge 50 goals again. The answer is yes. Whenever you slump, sometimes just getting that first goal leads to many more soon thereafter. Just having one two-goal night - perhaps on Thursday - will put him right back on pace for 50 and quickly quiet the naysayers.
I was informed by @Kubanryss that though he did not get credited for the goal, Ovechkin did score a power play goal in the pre-season. Mike Green got officially credited for the tally, but later denied that he actually touched the puck. So the title of this post should actually read "13 Straight Games Without Being Credited With a Goal."