On June 26, 2004, the Washington Capitals drafted Alexander Ovechkin with the first overall pick in the NHL Draft. We knew then that he would be a special player for the Capitals in the future, but did anyone know how historic he would be?
Since joining the league, he’s arguably the most prolific goalscorer – solidifying his place in NHL tradition. While he may not yet have the overall record, it becomes more and more of a possibility with every passing game.
On February 22, 2020, he took one step closer to Wayne Gretzky’s all-time high of 894 goals with his 700th career regular-season total. With that, I thought we would revisit some of Ovechkin’s landmark goals and which goaltenders have become a part of history as he looks to break the all-time record in the seasons to come.
First career goal (Oct 5, 2005)
It didn’t take long for Ovechkin to get started in the NHL. Starting for the Capitals on October 5, 2005, at the age of 20, their future captain scored two goals before Dainius Zubrus won for the Capitals at the end of the second period.
Ovechkin became the first player in Capitals history to score two goals in his debut and he can thank Pascal Leclaire, then Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender, for that designation.
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Leclaire, who was in his second season with the Blue Jackets, allowed three goals in the loss on 19 shots and finished with an .842 save percentage in the game. Ovechkin’s goals were two of 97 goals Leclaire gave up that season in 33 games for the Blue Jackets.
In 37 career games against the Blue Jackets, Ovechkin has scored 18 goals and 28 points, including five against Leclaire during his career.
100th Career Goal (Oct 12, 2007)
It took him just over two calendar years and 166 more games, but Ovechkin’s 100th game in the NHL came in his 167th regular-season game against another game legend in Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers of New York.
It was the only goal the Capitals scored in a 3-1 loss to the Rangers on Oct. 12, 2007, but it was a big goal for Ovechkin.
Lundqvist stopped 24 of 25 shots he faced that night and took the win with a .960 save percentage.
As for Ovechkin’s career numbers against Lundqvist and the Rangers, he has 33 goals and 53 points in 58 career regular-season games against the Rangers and has a career-high 24 goals against Lundqvist – the most goaltending count. goal in his career. To put that in perspective, 3.4 percent of his goals came against Lundqvist.
200th career goal (February 5, 2009)
Two and more years after scoring his 100th career goal, Ovechkin victimized another incredible goaltender with another scoring goal as he scored his 200th career goal in a 5-4 loss to Jonathan Quick and the Kings of Los Angeles.
Ovechkin’s tally in the third period allowed the Capitals to score a goal midway through the final period, before Kyle Calder ruled him out of the Kings that night. As for Quick, he stopped 41 of 45 shots for a .911 save percentage and the win. Still, he became just another piece in Ovechkin’s goal history.
As for his career numbers against Quick, he has scored seven goals against the Kings goaltender in his career and has 11 goals and 21 points in 21 regular season games against the Kings organization.
300th career goal (April 5, 2011)
Fast forward two years and Ovechkin hit another milestone – his 300th career goal in the regular season. The tally came from a 3-2 shootout victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 4, 2011, when he landed a first-period shot in front of James Reimer to tie the game.
Reimer stopped 39 of 41 shots but suffered the shootout loss. He won a .951 save percentage in the game, but remains one of the few goaltenders named in the Ovechkin milestone hunt.
Ovechkin torched the Maple Leafs during his career with 41 goals and 73 points in 50 career regular-season games. As for Reimer, Ovechkin has passed him six times, including his 300th career goal.
400th Career Goal (Dec 20, 2013)
Less than two years later, Ovechkin had reached another 100 goals with his 400th career goal against the Carolina Hurricanes on an empty net. The Capitals won the game 4-2 and Ovechkin’s scoring goal was the insurance scorer with Cam Ward on the bench for the Hurricanes.
To date, Ovechkin has scored 43 goals and 95 points in 81 regular season games against the Hurricanes. While his 400th count was on an empty net, it might not have mattered given his all-time numbers against Ward.
Over the course of his career, Ward has been a victim of Ovechkin 19 times. He is among the top five goalkeepers when it comes to goals against the Russian superstar. He falls right next to Lundqvist’s 24 and accounts for 2.7 percent of Ovechkin’s career goals.
All-time Russian top scorer (Nov 19, 2015)
Not all of its milestones came as goals of the century. In November 2015, Ovechkin scored his 484th career goal to become the all-time leader in goals scored by a Russian-born player, overtaking Sergei Fedorov.
The goal came in a 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars – a third period tally that tied the game. The goalie who allowed the goal was Kari Lehtonen, who ended the game stopping 33 of 35 for a .943 save percentage.
Ovechkin was Lehtonen’s number of his career, scoring 22 career goals against the former Atlanta Thrashers and the Dallas Stars goaltender. As for his numbers against the Stars, Ovechkin has 10 goals and 16 points in 20 career games against them.
500th career goal (January 10, 2016)
Just under two months after becoming Russia’s most successful player, Ovechkin scored his 500th career goal in a 7-1 loss to Andrew Hammond and the Ottawa Senators. Ovechkin also added his 501st that night as he finished the game with two goals.
Related: The NHL 500 Goals Club
As for Hammond, he allowed all seven goals on just 36 shots, ending the game with a .806 save percentage. While he was not one of the most common casualties in Ovechkin’s scoring history, the two goals he allowed Ovechkin in 2016 were his 500th career goal. They were, however, the only two he had ever given up to the superstar striker.
Ottawa, as a team, has not been so lucky over the years. In 48 career regular-season games against the Senators, Ovechkin has registered 31 goals and 51 points.
His 500th goal came in his 801st NHL game, making him the fifth fastest player in NHL history to reach this mark.
600th career goal (March 12, 2018)
It was another two-goal game in 2018 that stuck Ovechkin as a 600-goal scorer. The goals were scored in a 3-2 overtime win over Connor Hellebuyck and the Winnipeg Jets. Again, this was part of a 40+ goal campaign and although Hellebuyck stopped 40 of 43 shots he suffered loss in the game.
Related: The 600 NHL Goals Club
Ovechkin has dominated the Jets franchise during his career, scoring 48 goals and 92 points in 66 regular season games against the Jets / Thrashers organization. Although Hellebuyck is still fairly new to the league, his numbers aren’t as bad against Ovechkin.
Like Hammond, Hellebuyck has only allowed Ovechkin two goals in his career. Considering they only play twice a season, there’s a good chance that number won’t be swelling anytime soon. That said, Hellebuyck remains one of the goalkeepers who fell victim to an Ovechkin milestone.
700th career goal (February 22, 2020)
With his latest milestone – his 700th career goal – Ovechkin made the New Jersey Devils and Mackenzie Blackwood the answer to a future trivial question. Even though it ended in a loss, Ovechkin scored a goal in the third period to reach the milestone.
As for Blackwood, he finished the game with 33 saves on 35 shots and took the win. This was only the second time Ovechkin has beaten Blackwood and it was the 30th time he has scored against the Devils in his career. In 57 games against the Devils, he has 30 goals and 64 points.
Related: The NHL 700 Goals Club
Now, already in his next 100 goals, Ovechkin is looking to become the third player in NHL history to reach 800 goals – along with Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe. While it’s not a milestone he will reach this season, he could find himself among the top six scorers of all time by the end of the season.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. It began broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team and was involved in their coverage of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. He is the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.
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