For the last 17 years, we’ve had a front row seat to so many incredible moments for Alex Ovechkin. His spectacular goals, his breathtaking physicality, his unfettered enthusiasm for hockey, his tackling of milestone after milestone - we’ve been lucky enough to witness it closer than anyone.
There was the First Goal. The “Simply Sensational” Goal. The spinning-off-the-wall, broken-nose Goal. The Stanley Cup Final Goal(s). Numerous goals from his office, empty-net goals, fluky goals, breakaway goals and goals no goalie could ever hope to stop.
Tonight, he adds another historic moment to the ever-growing list that crowds his resume by scoring Goal #800:
Since the end of last season, only two names have sat ahead of his, only two legends with more career goals than Ovechkin: Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky. And since the end of last season, we’ve watched Ovechkin inch closer to both of these iconic players. He now joins them as the only NHL players to ever score into the 800s, two away from passing Howe and 95 shy of the Great One’s all-time mark.
As great as Ovechkin has been over the course of his career, the fact that we’re talking about him hitting 800 goals - and having a better-than-decent chance at taking down Gretzky’s record - would have seemed unthinkable at times during his career. It wasn’t that long ago that the 894-goal mark was frequently listed as one of 99’s “untouchable” records (although occasionally even the most unusual of suspects would suggest it was possible). Now, it seems tantalizingly within reach.
But back to this moment, because even if Ovechkin never catches Gretzky, hitting 800 goals in an era when goals are much harder to come by than they were for either Gretzky or Howe, is an incredible accomplishment all on its own - and one worthy of being celebrated as such.
Here are just a few of the dazzling numbers that accompany 800 (prior to tonight’s game):
- 165 - Number of goalies Alex Ovechkin has scored against over the course of his career, third-most in history behind Jaromir Jagr (178) and Patrick Marleau (177)
- 18 - Number of 20-goal seasons for Ovechkin (in 18 career seasons), sixth all-time and four behind the all-time leader, Gordie Howe (22)
- 136 - Number of first goals in his career, most all-time (with his game-opener in the first minute against Chicago pushing him past Jaromir Jagr
- 278 - Number of assists on Ovechkin goals by Nicklas Backstrom
- 500 - Number of even-strength goals, fourth-most all-time
- 534 - Number of goals scored by Sidney Crosby since 2005-06, second-most to Ovechkin... who scored his 534th goal in Game 18 of the 2016-17 season
- 291 - Number of power-play goals, most all-time
- 52 - Number of empty-net goals, second only to Gretzky (56)
- 25 - Number of overtime goals, most all-time
- 162 - Number of multigoal games, second only to Gretzky (189)
- 124 - Number of game-winning goals, second only to Jaromir Jagr (135)
- 72 - Number of playoff goals, 14th all-time - including 15 en route to his first Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe trophies
There are so many more numbers one could associate with #8, so many historic moments we’ve been privileged to watch year after year - but tonight, our focus is on the big one, the special one achieved tonight.
Congratulations to Alex Ovechkin on one incredible milestone!