Alexander Ovechkin is often unfairly regarded as a player who chokes under pressure, specifically in the Playoffs. However, his numbers speak for themselves and he's dominant in the postseason.
The Washington Capitals may be wildly unsuccessful in Game 7s, but it's hardly ever at the fault of Ovechkin. Can the same be said about Tampa Bay Lightning captain, Steven Stamkos?
Telling takeaway stat I saw:— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) May 24, 2018
Steven Stamkos, six career game 7's. Total points in them: zero.
The Lightning have gone through a plethora of Game 7s in recent years, but they have a higher success rate than the Capitals so it can go unseen.
However, in the six Game 7s that Stamkos has played in, he's been non-existent. Thankfully the Lightning didn't lose all six of those games, splitting them evenly at 3-3. It's time that Stamkos' play in Game 7s should be scrutinized just as much, if not more so, than Ovechkin and his snake bitten Capitals.
People have wanted to knock Ovechkin for his team’s past playoff struggles but he’s always shown up in big games. Stamkos has played in 6 GAME SEVENS. He has ZERO points and only 9 shots on net. His team is 3-3 in those games. Doesn’t fit the narrative to talk about him I guess?— Patrick O'Sullivan (@realPOSULLIVAN) May 24, 2018
One or two Game 7s without a point doesn't spell choking under pressure, but when it's six...well that's becoming quite the trend of mediocrity.
Stamkos has shown the NHL time after time that when the Lightning need him the most, he fails to deliver any sort of offense. He may have had a successful 2018 postseason, recording nearly a point-per-game, but if Ovechkin is scrutinized for his play by the public, then Stamkos should be held responsible for his play just the same. The only difference is that Stamkos' numbers actually back up the scrutiny.
Game 6's aren't any better for Stamkos either. In the seven Game 6's that Stamkos has appeared in, he's recorded five points, however three of those points came in 2011 against Boston, whom they lost to in Game 7. In the past three Game 6's, Stamkos has recorded just four shots with zero points, all of which ended in a loss.
"You can’t expect to win at this time of the year if you don’t score. You have to give them some credit. That’s a very good team over there and I think their goaltender played extremely well the last two games."#TBLvsWSH Game 7 | Steven Stamkos: pic.twitter.com/sJo5aQhmvl— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) May 24, 2018
The Lightning were shut out in both Game 6 and Game 7 of their series against the Capitals, and part of the blame should absolutely be on Stamkos.
Maybe it's because Stamkos reportedly took a puck to the face in practice ahead of Game 4, but that doesn't excuse his play in past Playoffs. Ovechkin is finally ridding his Playoff demons, and it's time for the public to finally acknowledge Stamkos' inability to perform when his team needs him most.