When Alex Ovechkin scored in the third period against goalie Igor Shesterkin in the Caps’ 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday night, it was his 709th career goal, passing Mike Gartner for seventh place on the all-time NHL goal scoring list. It made Shesterkin the 143rd goalie to be victimized by Ovechkin over the Great 8’s historic career. And it brings to mind, as it does every time Ovechkin climbs one more rung of the ladder, the elephant in the room – Wayne Gretzky. We will leave aside the question of whether Ovechkin can catch Gretzky for the all-time goal scoring lead. Let us take a quick look at some interesting facts about the victims of Ovechkin and Gretzky’s goal scoring prowess. For instance, did you know…
- While Ovechkin has victimized 143 goalies over his career, Gretzky lit the lamp against 155 netminders.
- Gretzky scored ten or more goals against 24 goalies, Ovechkin against 13.
- A Brodeur was the most frequent victim of Gretzky, but not Martin. Richard Brodeur was scored upon 29 times by Gretzky, all of them when Brodeur tended goal for the Vancouver Canucks.
- Ovechkin cannot match that total against a single goaltender, but he does have 24 goals against a pair of goalies, both of them likely hall of famers – Henrik Lundqvist and Marc-Andre Fleury.
- There were 34 goalies who can tell their grandchildren they were only scored upon by Gretzky once, 32 can say it about Ovechkin.
- Nine goalies have been victimized by both Ovechkin and Gretzky:
Of his 709 career goals, 73 of Ovechkin’s tallies have come at the expense of once and future teammates:
Alex Ovechkin’s most recent goal, on Thursday night, was accompanied by a lone assist, that from Nicklas Backstrom, who has assisted on so many of Ovechkin’s goals. Wayne Gretzky’s last goal, scored against the New York Islanders’ Wade Flaherty on March 29, 1999, was scored unassisted, which seems fitting for a goal scorer in a class by himself…for now.
One goalie against whom Ovechkin has not scored is Philadelphia’s Carter Hart. He might get to address that matter on Sunday.