Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin scored his 600th career goal Monday night against the Winnipeg Jets, the 20th player to hit that milestone and the fourth to do it in fewer than 1,000 games.
Only Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Brett Hull reached the 600-goal mark in fewer games.
Ovechkin has had nine 40-goal seasons and has scored at least 50 goals seven times, including one season of 65 goals.
He reached the plateau Monday night with two goals against the Jets, strikes Nos. 41 and 42 of the season.
“When I score 599, I felt like, ‘OK I still have to make a push two periods,’ ” Ovechkin said. “Finally, I scored.”
No. 600 came on a goal-mouth scramble, with Ovechkin cashing in after several whacks at the puck.
“Of course it’s special,” Ovechkin said of reaching the milestone. “You can see when I score (the first goal) goal, everybody tried to find me, everybody tried to look at me. I knew if I’m gonna have another one, I’m gonna score.”
Jets star Patrik Laine, who entered the game tied with Ovechkin in the season goal-scoring race, was on the ice when Ovechkin scored No. 600.
“I was pretty close watching it,” Laine, the 19-year-old who grew up a fan of Ovechkin, said. “I was in a good spot – just behind him. I was there when he made history, so I can maybe watch that someday and show that I was there getting the minus on the ice.”
Laine also scored in the game to give him 41 goals on the season — one behind Ovechkin — as the Capitals went on to a 3-2 win in overtime.
“I’m sure one day we’ll look at it and get perspective on it,” Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said of his longtime superstar hitting another milestone. “But it’s all a part of this process and he’s not fazed by it. He said the other day 40’s good but 50’s nicer and he’s going to get 50 goals. You can just tell he’s very, very determined and he is a historic player.”
“… We should never take Alex for granted. It’s really remarkable what he’s accomplished.”
“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.
Said former teammate Mathieu Perreault, a current member of the Jets: “The way he can shoot the puck and score goals is beyond what you can even think about. I can tell my grandkids, my kids, I played with Ovechkin. He’s going to be a legend of the game.”
Here is a video look at Ovechkin’s other milestone goals, plus some impressive ones and a controversial goal celebration.
Ovechkin, the No. 1 overall pick in 2004, ended up with two goals in his NHL debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets. With the league emerging from a season-long lockout, it was clear a star was born.
Stunning the Coyotes
In case you didn’t think that a two-goal debut meant Ovechkin would have a special career, just check out this rookie-year, highlight-reel goal on Jan. 16, 2006. Ovechkin appeared to be down and out, and he still managed to slide a no-look backhander past Phoenix Coyotes goalie Brian Boucher. Making the goal even more impressive: It was done in front of Wayne Gretzky, who was coaching the Coyotes at the time.
100th career goal
After getting 52 goals his first season and 46 his second, Oveckhin needed only two goals to hit the century mark. He did it in his fourth game of the season (Oct. 12, 2007), in typical Ovechkin fashion, with speed, a slick move and a quick shot.
Hitting the record books
On April 3, 2008, Ovechkin scored twice (his 64th and 65th goals of the season) to break Luc Robitaille’s season record by a left wing.
200th career goal
He took advantage on a turnover and ripped a shot past Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick in the third period of a 5-4 loss on Feb. 5, 2009. (Apologies: You’ll need to watch this on YouTube, but do come back.)
Passing to himself
Not only did Ovechkin bank the puck off the boards to himself to get past one defender on Feb. 18, 2009, he was pulled down and still had the presence of mind to roof a one-handed shot past Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price.
Stick is on fire
Ovechkin was on fire, but he caught some flak for his celebration after he scored his 50th goal of the season on March 29, 2009. He pretended that his stick was too hot to pick up. He jokingly repeated the move in a later All-Star Game.
300th NHL goal
Goal 100 was past Henrik Lundqvist. No. 200 was past Quick. On No. 300, on April 15, 2011, he beat James Reimer. Doesn’t matter. It was typical of many of his power-play goals, a rocket shot on a one-timer from the left faceoff circle. No matter how many teams know it’s coming, it’s hard to stop.
Pretty easy. An empty netter against the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 20, 2013. After all of the highlight-reel goals, it’s fine to have an occasional layup.
Also scored from his office, the left faceoff circle, on Jan. 10, 2016, against the Ottawa Senators. The difference: This was a wrist shot. Just as lethal. Nice that his parents were in the stands and that teammates poured onto the ice for the goal.
Seven goals in first two games
Ovechkin entered the 2017-18 season with 558 goals and got off to a swift start in the drive for 600 by getting a hat trick in Game 1 against the Ottawa Senators and four goals in Game 2 against the Canadiens. He was the first player in 100 years to get hat tricks in his opening two games.
Ovechkin scored his 40th goal of the season in prime time during an NBC broadcast of the Capitals-Maple Leafs game at Navy’s football stadium in Annapolis, Md. That gave him nine 40-goal seasons in his career.
Contributing: Associated Press
Gallery: Alex Ovechkin’s march to 600