Hot start has Ovechkin eyeing history with Capitals –

Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals is off to the hottest start of his NHL career with eight goals through his first four games.

The goal-scoring binge has introduced the possibility of reaching milestones believed to once be out of reach. Could the forward match his personal high of 65 goals in a season and, if the surge continues, could it be the boost Ovechkin needs to approach Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894 NHL goals?

Ovechkin has scored at least 50 goals on five occasions since then, but has yet to top 56. His eight-goal start might be just the advantage he needs to duplicate his feat from a decade ago. That season, Ovechkin had two goals in his first four games.

Ovechkin, the League’s leading goal-scorer this season by three, is the fifth player in the NHL expansion era (since 1967-68) to score eight goals in his team’s first four games of a season.

To reach 65 goals this season, Ovechkin needs to score 57 goals in the remaining 78 games. He has done this several times in his NHL career; the most recent in regular-season games between April 5, 2013 and March 20, 2014.

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Ovechkin has averaged 47.93 goals during any selected stretch of 78 regular-season games, from a minimum of 29 to a maximum of 65. Based on standard deviation of 9.29 goals, there is a 17.6 percent chance that randomly selecting any 78 games from his career would include at least 57 goals, which is a little better than one in six.

Given that Ovechkin is 32 years old, his odds of scoring 57 goals in 78 games are probably lower than that estimate. It’s commonly accepted that goal-scoring rates start to drop around

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