The Capitals captain scored twice Monday night in Washington’s 3-2 overtime win over the Winnipeg Jets to reach the milestone in his 990th regular-season game. No. 600 came 3 minutes, 53 seconds into the second period and marked his 42nd goal this season, which leads the NHL.
Capitals fans who have watched Ovechkin shine as the most productive goal scorer of the past decade-plus gave him a standing ovation for almost a minute after he reached the mark. Chants of “Ovi! Ovi!” continued as he waved from the bench in the moments after and during a video montage at the next timeout.
At 32 years old, Ovechkin is the third-youngest player in NHL history to reach 600 goals. Only Hockey Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky (894 goals) and Mario Lemieux (690) did it sooner.
“Obviously a really amazing feeling, pretty cool feeling,” Ovechkin said during a second-period intermission interview when asked what the milestone means to him.
“My wife [Nastya] is here — she just came back from Moscow. She said, ‘I have a feeling you’re going to score tonight and we’re going to enjoy the time,'” Ovechkin added. “So, I’m very happy. … My parents are watching the game at home and they’re happy. So whole family happy, it’s the most important thing.”
Ovechkin also said the goal was lucky.
“[Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck] makes … an unbelievable save and I get lucky and the puck bounces to me and, you know, I just have to put it in,” Ovechkin explained.
“He’s the best goal scorer probably of my time, definitely, and a generation,” said linemate Tom Wilson, who had the primary assist on Ovechkin’s 600th. “It’s on us if we don’t get him the puck. It’s a little bit of pressure, definitely, but you just go out there and play your game and it was one of those things that was just going to happen. He’s too good not to hit that milestone.”
Greeting Ovechkin in the locker room, owner Ted Leonsis took the moment to express his gratitude for 600 goals over the past 13 seasons.
“I told him I loved him and respected him and was very grateful and appreciated everything he’s done for the fans and for our team and looking forward to the next 100 goals,” Leonsis said. “We should never take Alex for granted. It’s really remarkable what he’s accomplished.”
Ovechkin was drafted first overall by Washington in 2004. Since entering the NHL in 2005, no one has come close to matching Ovechkin’s goal totals, as he has nearly 200 more tallies than the next highest scorer, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins (404). Ovechkin has scored more than 50 goals in a season seven times and more than 40 goals nine times.
“I just have to put the puck in and do my job,” Ovechkin said after scoring his 40th goal of the season at the Stadium Series game in Annapolis on March 3. “Forty is nice, but 50 is better.”
The significant factors in Ovechkin’s goal-scoring prowess are his shot volume and where he takes them. He ranks ninth all-time in the NHL for shots on goal, and has led the NHL in shots on goal in 10 of his 12 seasons. Many of those shots were taken from what has been known as “The Ovi Spot” on the ice: the circle to the goalie’s right, where Ovechkin sets up camp. He scored 119 of his 297 goals since 2011-12 from that spot.
Ovechkin has led the league in power-play goals six times, and is 10th in NHL history for goals scored with the man advantage.
Ovechkin has won the Rocket Richard Trophy for most goals six times (2008, 2009, 2012-16) and the Art Ross Trophy for most points once in 2008. He’s a three-time Hart Trophy winner for league MVP and a three-time recipient of the Ted Lindsay Award for most outstanding player, as voted on by the NHLPA. Ovechkin also won the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year in 2006 after scoring 52 goals.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.