Friday, April 2, 2010

The race for The Rocket

Sidney Crosby with 47, and Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos tied with 46 are in heated battle for the Rocket Richard Trophy and the 50 goal plateau. A three-way tie for the goal lead is extremely possible. In 2003/04 Jarome Iginla, Ilya Kovalcuk and Rick Nash finished tied with a mere 41 goals. It will be far more impressive if we have a three-way tie of 50 goals or more. The last time (and only time) that happened was 1979/80.
This is one of my favourite trivia questions, who were the three players to tie for goal lead in Gretzky's rookie year? Of course it was Blaine Stoughton, Danny Gare and Charlie Simmer with 56 each.

As for which of the three leaders this season has the best remaining schedule....it's a tough call who has the edge. Pittsburgh plays the Islanders and Atlanta twice each and once against Ovie's Caps. Crosby has 3 goals each versus the Isles and Caps but none so far in two games with Atlanta.
Washington has one extra game remaining with two as well against Atlanta (I don't like the Thrashers chances of sneaking into the playoffs), two against Boston and one each with the Pens and Columbus. Against these four teams, Ovechkin has 11 goals in 11 games this season.
Tampa Bay has two left with Florida and one each with Ottawa, Carolina and the Rangers. Versus these teams, Stamkos has 7 goals in 15 games including zero in five against the 'Canes this season.
My money would be on Sid the Kid holding off the other two, and hopefully all three can break through the 50 goal barrier.

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