We are now in that eight-day break of Washington Capitals hockey in which we can reflect on the season to date, what lies ahead, and anything else that comes to mind to while away the hours and days until the boys take the ice again. With that in mind, and with Alex Ovechkin making another in a continuing string of assaults on the NHL goal scoring record book this past week, we take a different look at Ovechkin’s career. It is what we call “The Ovechkin Calendar.” It is a look at how he has done and what he has accomplished among the months and the days of the NHL calendar over his career. We begin, as calendars do, with January.
January by the Numbers
Alex Ovechkin completed the week’s slate of games and headed off on the break having dressed for a total of 176 games in 15 Januarys over his career. Here are some of the most noteworthy facts and numbers with respect to his goal-scoring performance:
- 117. Ovechkin has a total of 117 goals scored in January for his career. His January performance over his career works out to a 55-goal pace per 82 games in January over his full career.
- 85. There have been 452 days in the month of January that correspond to Ovechkin’s career through Saturday. He has recorded at least one goal in 85 of those 452 days.
- 5. There are four dates on the January calendar that represent the most popular dates for Ovechkin goals. Ovechkin scored goals five times on each of January 7th (six goals), January 13th (eight goals), January 19th (six goals) and January 31st (nine goals).
- 2. There are only two dates on the January calendar on which he never scored a goal in 15 years: January 24th and January 29th. He will get a chance to wipe January 29th off the books when the Caps face the Nashville Predators after the break.
- 9. January 31st is the date on the January calendar in which Ovechkin scored the most goals – nine in five games, including a four goal game in 2008, including the game-winner in a 5-4 overtime win over Montreal. He added an assist to have a hand in all five goals the Caps scored. He can add to that total when the Caps visit the Ottawa Senators on the 31st after the break.
- 13. Ovechkin scored the most January goals of his career in 2008, when he posted 13 goals, four of them in that 5-4 win over Montreal. He has ten so far this January with two games remaining after he serves his one-game suspension for missing the All-Star Game.
- 24. The number of multi-goal games Ovechkin has recorded in January. He has had three multi-goal games in January twice – in 2009 and in 2015. He has had four multi-goal games in January 2020 to date with two more chances to add to that total before this month ends. The only years in which he did not record a multi-goal game in January were 2012 and 2013.
- 6. The number of hat tricks Ovechkin recorded in January: 2006, 2008 (four goals), 2011, 2019, and 2020.
- 500. Ovechkin scored his 500th career goal on January 10, 2016 in a 7-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.
- 1000. Ovechkin recorded his 1000th career point on a goal, the first of two he had in the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins his 545th career goal), scored just 35 seconds into the game in a 5-2 win.
- 59. Ovechkin has 59 goals scored at home in the month of January. He is sixth in the NHL since 1979-1980 in goals scored at home in January.
- 58. Ovechkin has 58 goals scored on the road in the month of January. Since 1979-1980, only Brett Hull (77) and Wayne Gretzky have more road goals in January than Ovechkin.
- 26. The number of opponents Ovechkin has victimized in January. Pittsburgh has allowed the most goals to Ovechkin in January (13). He has not yet recorded a January goal against the Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Vancouver Canucks, or Vegas Golden Knights.
- 1. There is only one “The Goal,” and it came against the Phoenix Coyotes on January 16, 2006:
The Highlight Game
January was quite a month in Ovechkin’s career – his first career hat trick against Anaheim in 2006, “The Goal” scored just three days later, scoring his 500th career goal in 2016, recording his 1,000th career point on a goal against the hated Penguins on home ice in 2017. But the one that tops them all was the last day of January in 2008 against the Montreal Canadiens.
The Caps were wrapping up a home-and-home set against the Canadiens in Washington after dropping the first game in which the Caps were shut out, 4-0, in Montreal. It was a game in which Ovechkin was held without a goal for a second consecutive game after posting a six-game goal scoring streak, his first two-game streak without a goal in almost three months.
It took Ovechkin less than seven minutes to break that streak. In a scoreless game and with the teams skating 4-on-4, Ovechkin settled a loose puck along the left wing boards and curled around and through the left wing circle before sending the puck to Milan Jurcina at the left point. Jurcina sent the puck right back for a one-timer from the left wing faceoff dot that beat goalie Cristobal Huet past his right pad, and the Caps were up, 1-0.
With the Caps holding a 2-0 lead in the second period and on a power play, Ovechkin tried to nudge the puck deep into the Montreal zone from the Canadiens’ blue line, but in doing so he left himself open to a crunching hit from defenseman Francois Bouillon that broke and bloodied Ovechkin’s nose.
Four minutes after suffering that injury, Nicklas Backstrom picked up a loose puck in his own zone and skated away. Curling off at his own blue line, he sent the puck forward to Viktor Kozlov, who fed the puck through the legs of a Montreal defender to Ovechkin darting into the offensive zone from Kozlov’s left. Ovechkin was in alone on Huet and snapped it over Huet’s left pad to make it a 3-0 game.
The Canadiens closed the gap to 3-2 as the clock was winding down through the second half of the third period. It was Kozlov finding Ovechkin again as the two were breaking out of the defensive zone, Kozlov sending the puck up from his own blue line to Ovechkin, who took it in stride just outside the Montreal blue line. From the top of the left wing circle, he fired the puck through the legs of defenseman Mark Streit and over the catching glove of Huet to make it 4-2, 12:30 into the period to complete the hat trick.
Montreal tied the game on a pair of Guillaume Latendresse goals, the latter with just 33 second left in regulation to force overtime. With less than two minutes left in the extra session, Ovechkin sped down the right side into the Montreal zone, but he lst his edge when he tried to curl off along the boards. Nicklas Backstrom dug the puck out and fed Mike Green for a one-timer from the top of the zone. Huet made the stop but did not control the rebound, and the puck leaked out to his right to Jeff Schultz. Canadien defenseman Mike Komisarek made the fatal mistake of abandoning the top of the crease to close on Schultz off the post to Huet’s right. Schultz fed the puck in the vacated area to Ovechkin, who got two whacks at it before snapping it past Huet for his fourth goal (the second four-goal game he had in less than five weeks, posting four against Ottawa on December 29th), the game-winner in the Caps’ 5-4 win.