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Stamkos Ties Ovechkin, Crosby In Goal Race; Can He Win?

Mar 26, 2010 – 11:50 AM
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Adam Gretz

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The Tampa Bay Lightning are going to miss the playoffs for a third consecutive year, but there's been at least one positive development to come out of this season for the bolts: the rapid development of 2008 No. 1 overall pick Steven Stamkos who has gone from a good rookie with some glimpses of stardom, to one of the top goal-scorers in the NHL. While the Lightning have been relegated to the role of spoiler for the remainder of the regular season, the 20-year-old Stamkos is in a fight for the Maurice Rocket Richard Award, given to the league's leading goal-scorer.

During Tampa Bay's 5-3 win in Boston on Thursday, Stamkos tallied two more goals, moving him into a tie for the league lead with Washington's Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby with 45 goals. It's already been talked about recently how he has a great chance to become the third youngest player to ever score 50 goals in a season (trailing only Wayne Gretzky and Jimmy Carson) but he also has a legitimate shot to wrestle the Rocket Richard Award away from Ovechkin, the player that's owned it each of the past two seasons.

What's it going to take?

All three players have hit a dry spell in recent weeks. Prior to his two-goal effort on Thursday, Stamkos had scored just one goal in his previous seven games, while Ovechkin has just three in his last 13. Crosby has been mired in a similar slump with three in 12 games since returning from the Olympics, and zero in his past six.

It's going to take no fewer than 50 goals -- and perhaps more -- to win this thing. Here's a quick rundown of the contenders.

Alex Ovechkin

Goals-Per-Game This Season: .703
Pace Needed To Hit 50: five goals in eight games (.625 per game).
Games Remaining: 8
The Opponents: Boston (2), Atlanta (2), Pittsburgh, Calgary, Ottawa, Columbus
Performance Against Remaining Teams This Season: 12 goals in 13 games

Sidney Crosby

Goals-Per-Game This Season: .616
Pace Needed To Hit 50: Five goals in eight game (.625 per game).
Games Remaining: 8
The Opponents: Atlanta (2), Islanders (2), Philadelphia, Toronto, Washington, Tampa Bay
Performance Against Remaining Teams This Season: 14 goals in 20 games

Steven Stamkos

Goals-Per-Game This Season: .608
Pace Needed To Hit 50: Five goals in eight games (.625 per game)
Games Remaining: 8
The Opponents: Florida (2), Buffalo, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Rangers, Carolina, Ottawa
Performance Against Remaining Teams This Season: 9 goals in 21 games



Crosby might have the easiest remaining schedule with six of his final eight games against teams currently out of the playoff race, and one of the other two against Brian Boucher. But, it's difficult to bet against Ovechkin in a race like this, especially when his three goals in 13 games stretch likely means he's due for a six-in-three run in the near future. Stamkos' advantage is going to come from the fact that he's going to end up playing more games than the other two (assuming he doesn't get injured, of course). Ovechkin will miss at least 10 games due to injury and a couple of suspensions, while Crosby also missed a game due to injury.

Going to be a great race down the stretch.
Filed under: Sports

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