Ovechkin’s latest hat trick gives him 15th consecutive 20-goal season
One of these years age is going to catch up to Alex Ovechkin and his goal scoring numbers will eventually start to slow down.
It is already very clear that this is not going to be that season.
With three goals in the Capitals’ 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, Ovechkin recorded the 24th regular season hat trick of his career, moving him into sole possession of 10th place on the NHL’s all-time list. The only players ahead of him are Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mike Bossy, Brett Hull, Phil Esposito, Marcel Dionne, Bobby Hull, Maurice Richard, and Cy Denneny.
But that’s not the only milestone Ovechkin hit with his latest three-goal game.
It also helped him hit the 20-goal mark for the 15th consecutive season, making him just the fifth player in NHL history to open a career with 15 consecutive 20-goal seasons and joining a list that includes only Dionne, Mike Gartner, Jaromir Jagr, and Mats Sundin.
Ovechkin’s second and third goals on Saturday came in empty-net situations, but Capitals coach Todd Reirden praised Ovechkin’s ability to play in those situations and the level of trust they have in him to play in those situations.
Via the Washington Post‘s Samantha Pell.
Reirden praised Ovi's late empty netters: "He's obviously able to get out there & earn that situation. He's gotten better in that area where we can play him in those situations. He deserves to be out there to help us protect a lead & if he gets a chance, he knows where to put it"— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) December 1, 2019
The most impressive thing about Ovechkin’s current performance is that in his age 34 season he is off to one of the best goal scoring starts of his career. There have only been three seasons in his career (2009-10, 2013-14, and 2018-19 where he had more than 20 goals through his first 28 games. He is still five goals behind Boston’s David Pastrnak for the league lead, so he definitely has his work cut out for him if he is going to win another goal-scoring crown, but he is currently on pace for 58 goals this season. That would be the second highest goal total of his career trailing only the 65 goals he scored during the 2007-08 season.