Ovechkin in Hot Pursuit of Gretzky as Capitals Grind for Playoffs

Ovechkin in Hot Pursuit of Gretzky as Capitals Grind for Playoffs
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Alexander Ovechkin has enjoyed a year filled with milestones.

Ovechkin scored his 800th career NHL goal and passed Gordie Howe for second on the all-time NHL goals list.

A milestone that once seemed unbreakable — Wayne Gretzky’s record 894 goals — now is a realistic target for Ovechkin. In fact, people in the know in Maryland sports betting expect him to surpass Gretzky before he retires.

Unfortunately, not everything has been positive for Ovechkin this year. He recently took a leave of absence from the Washington Capitals after the passing of his father. Ovechkin is expected to miss at least a week but will be back chasing Gretzky before long.

Now 37, Ovechkin has 32 goals and 22 assists for 54 points on the season and his 812 career goals place him 83 away from passing Gretzky.

Capitals Battling to Make Playoffs

While much of the chatter around the Capitals rightfully centers around Ovechkin’s record-chasing exploits, it sometimes gets lost that the club is also in a fight for the playoffs.

Maryland betting apps are new to the game, so bettors should know the Capitals have made the playoffs in 14 of the last 16 seasons. Of course, the Caps won the Stanley Cup in 2018 with the Russian superstar leading the way and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as league MVP.

The expectations for a team with such a legendary player always will be to make the playoffs, and Washington sits in the second wild-card spot with 62 points in 57 games. Washington is in a battle with Pittsburgh, the New York Islanders, Florida, Buffalo, Detroit and Ottawa for the two wild-card spots, a fight that likely will come down to the bitter end of the regular season.

DraftKings Maryland Sportsbook currently has the Capitals at +170 to grab a playoff spot, with odds of -220 that they will fall short.

Ovechkin’s chase for goals generally coincides with wins, so if he finds personal success on the goal-scoring front the team should find success as well.

Help for Washington has arrived in the form of former top-line center Nicklas Backstrom, who returned from offseason hip-resurfacing surgery a few weeks back and has started to heat up.

Ovechkin’s longtime pivot isn’t the points per game force he once was, but he has six points through 12 games. Backstrom should be able to add to his assist total even more once Ovechkin is back on his wing.

Defenseman John Carlson would help even more, but his return from a head injury is currently unknown; he could be out for the season.

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Forecast for Capitals

The Stanley Cup isn’t likely for Washington this year. They are rightfully longshots in the betting market at +4000 at DraftKings. That places them in a tie for 17th with Florida among the league’s 32 teams.

Caesars, meanwhile, gives the Capitals a better shot at +3500 to take the Cup. Caesars has the Boston Bruins as the favorite at +400.

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It will take a massive effort from Ovechkin to propel the team deep into the playoffs, but he certainly has shown the ability to do so. However, as much as the team might hate to admit it, these next few years will truly be defined by Ovechkin’s goal-scoring exploits and if he can pass Gretzky.

Winning would make it sweeter, of course. The Capitals will contend all year for a playoff spot, but Ovechkin’s goal chase remains the focus when it comes to hockey in the nation’s capital.

Along the way, BetMaryland.com will be focused on providing sound information and Maryland sports betting promos to our readers.



Cecil Peters is a Senior Betting Analyst for BetMaryland.com. A professional sports bettor in Canada, Cecil specializes in analyzing the latest odds impacting professional sports, particularly MLB and the NHL.

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