When asked about who scored the most skilled goal he’s ever seen in the NHL, Auston Matthews was quick to answer: Alex Ovechkin.
Matthews grew up in Arizona, and when he was eight years old, he was at the then Glendale Arena, watching a rookie Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals take on the Phoenix Coyotes. There, the Capitals beat Phoenix 4-1. And, Matthews withnessed the best goal he said he has ever seen.
In a recent social media hit on the NHL’s Instagram, the Toronto Maple Leafs star described watching Ovechkin fall on his back, and with one hand on his stick, slide the puck past Brian Boucher for one of the most iconic goals in the league’s history.
“Had to be Ovechkin’s against my hometown Coyotes,” Matthews said when asked about the most-skilled goal he’s ever witnessed. “He was on his back and was able to kind of scoop it in. But I was actually at the game and it was pretty incredible to watch.”
On this day in 2006, Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8) wowed the hockey world with "The Goal".
LOVE. TO. SEE. IT. pic.twitter.com/mep1gdctyz
— NHL (@NHL) January 16, 2021
The goal was enough to make even Wayne Gretzky, the Yotes coach at the time, look up at the scoreboard to see how he pulled it off. To this day, Ovechkin still doesn’t have a good explanation for how he got it done.
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Nazem Kadri agreed with Matthews that the goal was an iconic one that goes down as one of the best plays ever made.
“Guy scores with one hand falling on the ice. It’s pretty incredible and one that I’ll always remember watching,” Kadri said in the video.
“I don’t even know how he did it. It was pretty impressive,” teammate Tom Wilson added.
Ovechkin is still proving to be one of the most mesmerizing players in the NHL and is the Hart frontrunner right now among PHWA writers. The 36-year-old has 31 goals and 31 assists through 50 games and is on pace for a 99-point campaign. He is also just six goals away from passing Jaromir Jagr from third on the NHL’s all-time goals list.