On Sunday night in Pittsburgh, Alex Ovechkin played in his 1,000th NHL game. It’s a milestone that is unprecedented as no Washington Capital had ever suited up for 1,000 games in a Capitals sweater. Ovechkin played that 1,000th game in a hostile environment but when the Capitals return home on Thursday night, he will get to celebrate this acheivement among the Capitals fans as the team will hold a pregame ceremony before the Caps take on the Nashville Predators.
FROM THE CAPITALS MEDIA RELEASE
The Washington Capitals will hold a pre-game ceremony on Thursday, April 5, prior to hosting the Nashville Predators to honor captain Alex Ovechkin for playing in his 1,000th NHL game. During the ceremony, Ovechkin will receive a special gift from the organization, the National Hockey League and his teammates. Capitals President Dick Patrick and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly will join Ovechkin’s wife Nastya Ovechkina, on the ice to honor Ovechkin.
Ovechkin became the first player in franchise history and the first player selected in the 2004 NHL Draft to play 1,000 NHL games on April 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the 54th player in NHL history to play his first 1,000 games with a single franchise. Since joining the Capitals in the 2005-06 season, Ovechkin has missed just 29 games, never appearing in fewer than 72 games in a season. Since entering the NHL, only five players have played in more games (Patrick Marleau, Dustin Brown, Henrik Sedin, Eric Staal and Brent Seabrook).
Ovechkin ranks third all-time in goals by the 1,000 game mark (Wayne Gretzky: 749, Brett Hull: 639). This season, Ovechkin leads the NHL with 46 goals and leads the Capitals in even strength goals (30) and points (84), marking the fifth time he has recorded at least 30 even strength goals. The Capitals are 36-9-3 this season when Ovechkin records a point, good for a .781 point percentage, a higher point percentage than each of the current top five scorers in the NHL. Ovechkin is looking to reach the 50 goal mark for the eighth time in his career to join Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky as the only players with eight 50-goal seasons (Bossy and Gretzky each recorded nine 50-goal seasons). Ovechkin, 32, is also aiming to become the second player since the 1967-68 expansion era to lead the NHL in goals at the age of 32 or older (Phil Esposito led the NHL twice in goals just before his 33rd and 34th birthday).
By Michael Marzzacco