January and February are in the books in or look back at “The Ovechkin Calendar,” how Alex Ovechkin’s goal scoring has broken down by month through the years. Now, we are up to March.
March by the Numbers
March is a month in which teams are starting their stretch run for the playoffs and, in many cases, welcoming new players after the trading deadline. One constant, though. It is a month in which Alex Ovechkin scores a lot of goals. Here are some of the most noteworthy facts and numbers with respect to his goal-scoring performance:
- 109. Ovechkin has scored 109 goals in March over 14 years. You might even say that it has been a “PT-109” month. Pretty terrific, that is. His total ranks 14th since 1979-1980 for goals scored in March. That number ranks 15th in the NHL among all players since 1979-1980. If he puts together an average month of March this season (eight goals), he would finish this season in tenth place on that list (117).
- 82. Over 14 seasons, Ovechkin has scored a goal in 82 different days of the March portion of the calendar. That is 18.9 percent of the days of March that have passed in that time (434).
- 0. There is not a single March date on which Ovechkin has been shut out from scoring a goal. He has been held to one goal on four dates in March, including March 4th, March 10th, March 15th, and March 17th.
- 17. Ovechkin is Russian, so there might not be much of a surprise that he has only one career goal scored on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day. It was the game’s first goal in a 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on St. Patrick’s Day, 2013. Then again, the Caps have played on St. Patrick’s Day only twice in Ovechkin’s career, the other one being in 2009. He did not have a goal, but he did have an assist in a 3-0 win over Florida.
- 1. March has been a month in which Ovechkin starts quickly. Ovechkin has scored at least one goal seven times on March 1st, the most popular date on the March calendar. And, he has nine goals in those seven goal-scoring games, most goals scored of any date in March.
- 60. On March 21, 2008, Ovechkin became the 19th player in NHL history to record 60 goals in a season. He did it when he scored the second of two goals in a 5-3 win in Atlanta over the Thrashers. It was part of a four-point game for Ovechkin (2-2-4) and a game in which the Caps came back from a 3-1 deficit after two periods. It was the first time a player recorded 60 goals in a season since Mario Lemieux (69) and Jaromir Jagr (62) each did it for the Penguins in 1995-1996. And, Ovechkin became only the third left-winger to post 60 or more goals, joining Luc Robitaille (63 in 1992-1993 with Los Angeles) and Steve Shutt (60 in 1976-1977 with Montreal)
- 9. On March 3, 2018, Ovechkin became the sixth player in NHL history to score 40 or more goals in nine seasons, recording a first-period goal in Washington’s 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the outdoor game played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. He has since added a season, one of four players to score 40 or more goals ten times. If he does it this season, it will be his 11th, passing Mario Lemieux and Marcel Dionne to trail only Wayne Gretzky (12).
- 14. Ovechkin scored 14 goals in March 2008, the most scored in a March in his career. Small wonder…that was the season in which he finished with 65 goals.
- 25. The number of opponents Ovechkin has scored against in March. Atlanta/Winnipeg has been the most frequent victim (13 goals). Ovechkin does not have a goal in March against five opponents: Colorado, New Jersey, San Jose, St. Louis, or Vegas.
- 54. The number of goalies Ovechkin has scored upon in March over 14 seasons. Kari Lehtonen was victimized most often (seven).
- 2. The number of empty net goals scored by Ovechkin in March – March 18, 2008 in a 4-2 win over the Predators in Nashville, and March 27, 2009 in a 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
- 49. Ovechkin has 49 goals scored on home ice in March.
- 60. Of his 109 totals goals scored in March, 60 of them have been scored on the road.
- 25. Ovechkin has recorded 25 multi-goal games in March games. He did it four times twice, in 2008 and again in 2015. He did not record a multi-goal game in March in 2016, the only year in which he did not record a multi-goal game in March.
- 2. Of his 25 multi-goal games in February, two of them represent hat tricks for Ovechkin: March 3, 2008 in a 10-2 win over Boston and March 28, 2017 in a 5-4 win in Minnesota against the Wild.
The Highlight Game
If scoring goals on one-timers from the left wing faceoff circle – his “Office” – has become the signature method of goal scoring in Alex Ovechkin’s career, the underrated method is sheer grit. It was on display in a mid-March game in 2018 against the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets came to Washington on a roll, going 9-3-0 in their most recent dozen games. Meanwhile, the Caps were meandering through their own schedule, going 10-9-4 in 23 games leading up to their matchup with the Jets on March 12th.
Ovechkin opened the scoring in the fifth minute of the game on a power play, bringing him to within a goal of 600 for his career. Winnipeg tied the game less than a minute later on a Nikolai Ehlers goal, and that is how the teams went to the second period. The stage was set for history to be made.
In the fourth minute of the period, with the puck being fought over in the right wing corner, Ovechkin stepped around defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to the right of goalie Connor Hellebuyck. As the puck made its way to Ovechkin’s side of the ice, he battled Byfuglien for position off the post. A shot by Matt Niskanen from the left wing boards pinballed among players at the top of the crease. Ovechkin shoved Byfuglien toward the net to open some space, just as the puck was sliding toward him. Ovechkin got a whack at the puck, but Hellebuyck dove to block it. Ovechkin got another whack, but the prone Hellebuyck got his glove on it. The third time was the charm, though, Ovechkin chipping the puck over Hellebuyck and into the back of the net to score his 600th career goal in his 990th career game, the fourth-fastest player in NHL history to 600 goals.
Winnipeg tied the game in the third period on a Patrik Laine goal, but the Caps made the historic night a happy one in the end when in overtime, Evgeny Kuznetsov scored on a breakaway in the final minute to give the Caps a 3-2 win on Alex Ovechkin’s 600th-goal night.