ovechkin on verge of yet another record
BY BRIAN MCNALLY | FEB. 26, 2018
There will be little fanfare when Alex Ovechkin takes the ice against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a road game Monday night.
You don’t get tribute videos or standing ovations for setting franchise records unless you’re playing in front of the home crowd, but that’s exactly what Ovechkin will do when he plays in his 984th game with the Capitals.
That will pass the record held by former Washington defenseman and assistant coach Calle Johansson. At 32, and with three years still left on his contract, Ovechkin will extend that record further. It is the first of a string of milestones coming up for him.
After scoring twice against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, Ovechkin leads the NHL with 38 goals and has 596 for his career. He will soon become the 20th player in league history to reach 600 goals.
“When you get closer, you want it done earlier,” Ovechkin said. “You’re stuck at 599, you want to pass it. Hoping in a couple of games I will have it done and we move forward.”
Ovechkin remains two goals ahead of Evgeni Malkin (36) for the league lead. With 20 games left to play, he remains on pace for his eighth season of 50 goals or more. The 600th goal could even come by Saturday night when the Capitals host the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Stadium Series game at the Naval Academy on NBC in prime time. That would be the perfect spot for hockey’s consummate showman to reach 600. His 500th goal came at Capital One Arena, but was overshadowed by a Redskins playoff game in 2015.
“Three games to do it? I wouldn’t put it past him at all,” Washington forward T.J. Oshie said. “Some people when they have high expectations, they get nervous and shy away. Seems like the higher expectations you have for Ovi the more determined he is to reach them – and exceed them.”
Ovechkin’s final milestone in a month filled with them will – for now, barring injury or suspension – comes April 1 in Pittsburgh of all places when he plays in his 1,000th career game.
Even Penguins fans will have to give grudging acknowledgment to that feat. Ovechkin has missed just 19 games because of injury in his career with another eight for suspensions and two missed to visit his ailing grandfather.
“Getting old, you know?” Ovechkin said after the 5-1 win against Buffalo. “Soon it’s going to be 1,000 and obviously that’s a very big number for games. I’m pretty happy to reach that milestone with one organization. It’s pretty cool.”