Alex Ovechkin’s inevitable creep toward 50 goals took another step on Friday when he scored the game-winner in an eventual 3-1 win against the New York Islanders.
Ovechkin batted a puck out of the air and past goalie Thomas Greiss on a power play in the third period to break a 1-1 tie. It was his 45thgoal of the season, which marked a milestone. Ovechkin became the first NHL player to score 45 goals 10 different times.
He was previously tied with Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy, who did it nine times each. Those two have one advantage over Ovechkin, however: In all of those seasons they also topped 50 goals. They share that record. Ovechkin is third all-time with seven 50-goal seasons but came up agonizingly short last year with 49. But with 17 games left he has a good shot at pulling within one of Gretzky and Bossy’s mark.
“[Ovechkin] continues to amaze the players in the room and our coaching staff. I’ve said it a lot this year – we are just so lucky to have this player in our organization,” Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. “He’s a generational talent in the National Hockey League. The National Hockey League is fortunate that a player like him has been able to come over and do the things that he did. You’re always looking for special people, special talents like he is. And to be able to have 10 seasons of 45 goals is absolutely amazing.”
Ovechkin is climbing up the charts almost nightly now. His game-winning goal was the 106th of his career. That ties Toronto’s Patrick Marleau for seventh all time. Brendan Shanahan is up next at 109 with Teemu Selanne and Brett Hull tied for fourth at 110.
With 45 goals and 30 assists, Ovechkin has 75 points. He again has a shot at a 90-point season, which he has not reached since the 2009-10 season. Last year Ovechkin fell just short with 87 points (49 goals, 38 assists). He is also now just three points shy of 1,200 points for his career. He is 48thall time (1,197) and would tie former Capitals forward Dino Ciccarelli when he gets to 1,200.
San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (1,463) is the only active player with more points than Ovechkin, who this year passed former teammate Sergei Fedorov (1,179) for most points by a Russian player.
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