With the NHL hitting pause on the 2019-20 season, NBC Sports Washington is looking back at the highlights from the first 69 games of the regular season. We’ve been counting down the top 20 games of the season and will recap multiple other categories over the coming weeks. Today we look back on the best hits of the season. 

#5 – Carlson Staples Moore to Boards – October 29, 2019 

John Carlson is more of a puck-mover than a hard-nosed, physical defenseman, but he brought it with his hit to Toronto Maple Leafs forward Trevor Moore in the first month of the season. The Maple Leafs are an extremely skilled team, but not very physical and Carlson put that to the test when he stepped up at the defensive blue line and simply plastered him. 

That hit came after Carlson had already scored twice so yeah, he was feeling it that night. 

#4 – Wilson Destroys Wennberg in Open Ice – December 27, 2019 


Tom Wilson had the third-most hits in the league when the season went on pause so there are plenty of highlights to choose from amongst his 253 hits.  Number 4 on our list is Wilson’s powerful punishment of Alex Wennberg on December 27th. Wennberg was skating across the offensive zone looking to get a shot off and forgot to look up, not a smart move with Wilson on the ice. Wilson delivered the big shoulder-to-shoulder hit and as Locker so eloquently puts it, ka-bonged him to the ice. A great hit, and some on our staff would argue not even Wilson’s best from this game (see this hit on Jakob Lilja). 

#3 – Ovechkin Lowers the Boom on Drouin – November 15, 2019 


With more than 700 goals, it can be easy to forget just how big and physical a player Alex Ovechkin can be. Jonathan Drouin certainly won’t forget that after this hit. 

Coming in on the back-check, Ovechkin glided into the defensive zone, turned and collided with Drouin just as he dropped the puck off behind him. As Drouin had turned his body for the drop pass, most of his momentum had ceased. Ovechkin’s however, had not and he came in like a freight train and leveled the Canadiens forward. 

The hit ultimately did not have the desired effect, however, as Montreal scored four times in the second period and took the win. 

#2 – Ovechkin Sends Schmidt into Knights Bench – February 17, 2020 


The road between 698 and 700 for Ovechkin seemed like it took forever (five whole games!) but what it lacked in goals, it made up for in hits. The one that jumps out is from February 17 when Ovi knocked his former teammate Nate Schmidt into the Knights bench. Ovi was hunting Schmidt back down the ice when Schmidt spun back towards the bench. Gr8 got n8 in his sights and promptly sent him for an early line change, knocking him backward into the bench. Better yet was the conversation between the two afterward when Schmidt told Ovi he hadn’t “been hit like that in a while.” 

#1 – Leipsic Delivers Two Giant Hits to Spark Brawl – November 18, 2019 


The best hit – or in this case, hits – came from a very unlikely source. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Brenden Leipsic delivered not one, but two huge hits against the Anaheim Ducks that ignited a brawl. 

The Ducks were playing Leipsic physically and he decided that he had enough. He first came in behind the offensive goal line and delivered a shoulder check to the 6-foot-5, 217-pound Erik Gudbranson that knocked Gudbranson down to his knees. That earned Leipsic several cross checks and shoves, but he was not about to back down. On the contrary, that fired him up and when the puck was sent back down behind the goal line just seconds later, Leipsic came in and delivered an even bigger hit to the 6-foot-3, 206-pound Derek Grant that knocked him to the ice and the brawl was on. 

The hit was so good that no one seemed to notice that Chandler Stephenson had scored on the play until after all the players were finally separated. 

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