Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin appears humble, composed and focused on winning as he makes history time and time again through 2021-22. His 750th goal was no different – it was just a part of his “job,” another day at the office.
That strike came off a quick snapshot that beat Daniil Tarasov en route to a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. Tarasov is the 152nd NHL goaltender Ovechkin has scored on in his career. Ovi was also familiar with his father, Vadim, who he played against for three years in the Russian Superleague back in 2002-05.
“What a legend,” T.J. Oshie said of Ovechkin post-game.
Despite Ovechkin’s modesty, Saturday marked yet another milestone; he is the second-fastest player to hit the 750-goal mark, hitting it in 1,222 games (Wayne Gretzky did so in 1,001 GP). Also, the goal was Ovechkin’s 20th of the year, marking the 17th consecutive season that he has scored at least 20 goals. Only Gordie Howe and Brendan Shanahan have more consecutive 20-goal campaigns in their career.
“It’s a pretty cool number,” Ovechkin said casually. “Just keep going, move on.”
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With 20 goals in the first 25 games this season, the Great 8 is now on pace for 66 goals this season, which would be the best total of his career so far. The last time he hit the 60-goal mark was in 2007-08 when he struck 65 times. It would also mark his ninth year with 50 or more goals, and his current shooting percentage of 19.2 is the best of his career so far.
“Just seems from last year to this year, just seems like there’s more rhythm to it,” head coach Peter Laviolette said of Ovechkin. “The year has more rhythm. Although we’re battling and we’re dealing with stuff, it just seems like it’s a little bit more normal. It started on time, he was able to get into his programs of things he does in the summer, things he does through training camp and how he starts a season. And it really feels like to me, he’s gotten off to the start that he wanted to get off to… the consistency, that’s what makes him great.”
Critics wondered in the offseason if he would be able to maintain his current pace over time with age. However, the 36-year-old has put that “bulls*** talk” (as he refers to it) to rest with the 2021-22 campaign a quarter of the way through.
A 66-goal season would account for two of the 33-goal average campaigns he would need to break Wayne Gretzky’s all-time scoring record within the five-year extension he signed in the offseason. He also needs just 17 more red lights to pass Jaromir Jagr for third of all-time. However, he’s trying not to look too far ahead.
“How I said, game by game, see what happens,” Ovechkin said.