Alex Ovechkin became the fifth-fastest player to record his 500th NHL goal Sunday night when he snapped a Jason Chimera feed past Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond 16:19 into the second period at Verizon Center, giving the Caps a 5-1 lead and sending the crowd into an ear-piercing frenzy.
Ovechkin was mobbed by his teammates and waved wildly to the crowd, which included his father and mother. His mother, Tatyana, wiped tears from her eyes.
Ovechkin’s milestone goal was his team-leading 25th of the season, which ties him with Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn for the NHL lead. It came in his 801st NHL game.
Only four NHL players have gotten to 500 goals faster than the 30-year-old Ovechkin, who is in his 11th NHL season.
Wayne Gretzky netted his 500th goal in his 575th game at the age of 25. Mario Lemieux needed 605 games to hit the 500 milestone at the age of 30. Mike Bossy netted his 500th in his 647th game at the age of 28, and and Brett Hull did it in 693 games at age 32.
Since entering the NHL in 2005-06, Ovechkin has posted 149 more goals and 49 more points than any player in the NHL. Ovechkin already ranks first in the Capitals’ 42-year history in goals (500), points (933), power-play goals (185), game-winning goals (85) and overtime goals (16).
Earlier this season Ovechkin passed Sergei Fedorov as the NHL’s leading Russian-born goal scorer.
Ovechkin had several chances at his 500th goal in the first half of the game. He had seven attempts at the net in the first period, three of them stopped by Hammond, two of them blocked and two of them missed the net.
Earlier in the second period, Ovechkin busted out of the penalty box, where he was serving a penalty to goaltender Philipp Grubauer, and broke in alone on Hammond, only to fire a shot high over the net. A few minutes later Ovechkin again broke free but had his wrist shot stopped by Hammond’s left shoulder.