CAPITALS' OVECHKIN NAMED NHL ROOKIE OF THE MONTH
Ovechkin edged Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby (7-7--14 in 12 games), New York Rangers right wing Petr Prucha (12-1--13 in 13 games) and Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Antero Niittymaki (8-2-0, 2.38 goals against average, .920 save percentage) for the award.
Ovechkin recorded at least one point in nine of 11 contests, including a five-game goal-scoring streak from Dec. 22 to Dec. 31, the longest by a Capitals player since Peter Bondra in 1998. The 20-year-old Moscow, Russia native scored 23% of the Capitals' goals and earned points on 54% of them (19 of 35). He recorded six multiple-point games, including four-point outings against the New York Rangers Dec. 3 and Atlanta Dec. 22.
Named to the Russian Olympic team Dec. 22, Ovechkin leads the Capitals and all NHL rookies in scoring, and ranks 13th in NHL overall, with 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists).
Ovechkin joins Crosby (October) and Calgary Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf (November) as NHL Rookie of the Month winners in 2005-06.
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