The Capitals captain scored twice Monday night against the Winnipeg Jets to reach the milestone in his 990th regular-season game. His record-breaking goal 3:53 into the second period was his 42nd goal this season, which leads the NHL.
At 32 years old, Ovechkin is the third-youngest player in NHL history to reach 600 goals. Only Hockey Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky (894 goals) and Mario Lemieux (690) did it sooner.
“Obviously a really amazing feeling, pretty cool feeling,” said Ovechkin after the second period of reaching the milestone.
“My wife is here — she just came back from Moscow. She said, ‘I have a feeling you’re going to score tonight and we’re going to enjoy the time,'” Ovechkin added. “So, I’m very happy … my parents are watching the game at home and they’re happy. So whole family happy, it’s the most important thing.”
But Ovechkin also said the goal was lucky: “He [Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck] makes … an unbelievable save and I get lucky and the puck bounces to me and, you know, I just have to put it in.”
Ovechkin was drafted first overall by Washington in 2004. Since entering the NHL in 2005, no one has come close to matching Ovechkin’s goal totals, as he has nearly 200 more tallies than the next highest scorer, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins (404). Ovechkin has scored more than 50 goals in a season seven times and more than 40 goals nine times.
“I just have to put the puck in and do my job,” Ovechkin said after scoring his 40th goal of the season at the Stadium Series game in Annapolis on March 3. “Forty is nice, but 50 is better.”
The significant factors in Ovechkin’s goal-scoring prowess are his shot volume and where he takes them. He ranks ninth all-time in the NHL for shots on goal, and has led the NHL in shots on goal in 10 of his 12 seasons. Many of those shots were taken from what has been known as “The Ovi Spot” on the ice: the circle to the goalie’s right, where Ovechkin sets up camp. He scored 119 of his 297 goals since 2011-12 from that spot.
Ovechkin has led the league in power-play goals six times, and is 10th in NHL history for goals scored with the man advantage.
Ovechkin has won the Rocket Richard Trophy for most goals six times (2008, 2009, 2012-16) and the Art Ross Trophy for most points once in 2008. He’s a three-time Hart Trophy winner for league MVP and a three-time recipient of the Ted Lindsay Award for most outstanding player, as voted on by the NHLPA. Ovechkin also won the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year in 2006 after scoring 52 goals.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.