The 2017-2018 was a great season for Washington Capitals. They won their first ever Stanley Cup. But during the regular season, many of the players managed to achieve career milestones. Prior to the season, NoVa Caps looked at potential player milestones (here) so readers can compare the pre-season possibilities with the actual milestones achieved. Below is a summary of player milestones achieved.
Alex Ovechkin Milestones
- At the start of the 2017-18 season, Alex Ovechkin had 558 career goals, which was the most for a Washington Capitals player, third place among active NHL players, and #26 on the All-Time list for NHL Players. During the season, he passed up Guy Lafleur, Mike Modano, Joe Nieuwendyk, Mats Sundin, Mike Bossy, and Mark Recchi, and Jari Kurri. Alex Ovechkin scored his 600th career goal on March 12th against the Winnipeg Jets. He passed up Jari Kurri with a goal on March 20 against the Dallas Stars which was #602 in his career. He currently has 607 goals and ranks #19 on the All-Time list and #1 on the Active players list.
- Going into the 2017-18 season, Ovechkin had played 921 NHL games which was fourth in franchise history. During the season, he passed up Kelly Miller (940 games) on November 16 against the Colorado Avalanche, passed Peter Bondra (961) on January 2 against the Carolina Hurricanes, and Calle Johansson (983) on February 26 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. On that day, Ovechkin set the Caps; franchise record for most games played. On April 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ovechkin played in his 1,000th career NHL game. He ended up the 2017-18 season with 1003 total games played which ranks #22 for all active players.
- Going into the season, Ovechkin had 477 assists. On January 25, Ovechkin earned his 500th assist, getting his milestone assist on a power play goal scored by Nicklas Backstrom against the Florida Panthers. That day, he became the fourth active player with at least 500 goals and 500 assists in the League, joining Jaromir Jagr of the Calgary Flames (766 goals, 1,155 assists), Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks (525 goals, 609 assists), and Patrick Marleau of the Toronto Maple Leafs (535 goals, 594 assists). But, given that Jagr retired just four days later and Hossa missed the entire 2017-18 season and may even be forced to retire, he may be the only player with both of these milestones, besides Marleau. He is currently second in career assists for the Capitals, with 515, only after Backstrom. He is also #14 among active players, but moves up to #12 since Henrik and Daniel Sedin, who are ahead of him on that list, have announced they are retiring after the 2017-18 season.
- Going into the season, Ovechkin had earned 1035 total career points during his NHL career. He earned his 1100thpoint on February 15 against the Minnesota Wild. He currently has 1122 points for first on the Caps All Time list and third among active players, trailing only Joe Thornton (1427) and Patrick Marleau (1129). He is #59 on the All-Time list for total career points.
- Going into the season, Ovechkin had 95 game winning goals. On January 2 against the Carolina Hurricanes, Ovechkin scored his 100th game winner. He now has 102 game winning goals for this career which is second in the NHL among all active players, only behind Patrick Marleau, and eighth on the All-Time list. During the season, he passed Mats Sundin, Bobby Hull, Guy LaFleur, and Jarome Iginla on the All-Time list.
- At the beginning of the season, Ovechkin was tied with Jaromir Jagr as the All-time leader in Overtime goals. On October 20 against the Detroit Red Wings, Ovechkin scored his 20th career game-winning overtime to become first on the All-Time list. He scored his 22nd career game-winning overtime goal on January 2 against the Carolina Hurricanes.
- When the season started, Ovechkin had 212 career power play goals. He currently has 229 career power play goals which is first on the Capitals All-Time franchise list and first among active players. He ranks #10 on the All-Time list.
- Ovechkin became the fourth player in NHL history to score 25 or more goals in each of his first 13 seasons on January 2, joining Jaromir Jagr (17 seasons), Mike Gartner (15 seasons) and Wayne Gretzky (13 seasons).
- On January 25, Ovechkinbecame the third player ever with 30 goals in each of his first 13 seasons, joining Wayne Gretzky and Mike Gartner.
- On February 26, Alex Ovechkin scored his 40th goal of the season Friday to become the 10th player in NHL history to get 40 or more goals in at least eight seasons.
- For the 2017-18 season, Ovechkin tied Bobby Hull for the most times leading the NHL in single season goals (7)
- On April 7, Ovechkin passed Luc Robitaille for the 2nd most career multi-goal games by a natural left winger (120- just 1 shy of tying Hull for the most)
Nicklas Backstrom Milestones
- Before the season, Backstrom had scored 188 goals. Backstrom scored his 200th career goal on February 6 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. In the process, he passed Bengt-Ake Gustafsson, Dave Christian, and Alexander Semin on the franchise All-Time goal scoring list. He now has 209 goals and is ranked #5 on the franchise list. He is ranked #59 among all active players
- At the beginning of the season, Backstrom had played in 734 NHL games. Backstrom played in his 800th NHL game on March 8th against the Los Angeles Kings, becoming the seventh player in franchise history to reach the 800-game mark. He has played in 815 games and is ranked seventh for the franchise in games played.
- Going into the 2017-18 season, Backstrom had 728 points in his NHL career. On March 26, against the New York Rangers on March 26, Nicklas Backstrom recorded his 791st point, passing Mike Gartner (789 points) for third place on the Caps All-Time list. After the 2017-18 season, he now has 799 points and reaches the 800-point milestone with the first goal or assist he earns during 2018-19.
- Before the season started, Backstrom had 540 career assists. He now has 590 assists which is #1 on the franchise All-Time list and #8 among active players. He’ll move up to #6 at the end of the season since Henrik and Daniel Sedin, who are ahead of him on that list, are retiring.
- Backstrom’s goal on December 23 was his 134th even-strength goal and moved him past Bobby Carpenter for fifth place on the Caps’ all-time list. Earlier that month, he passed Bengt-Ake Gustafsson & Kelly Miller on the Caps’ leader board for that milestone. He ended the 2017-18 with 144 even-strength goals.
Other NHL Games Played Milestones
- Jay Beagle played in his 400th NHL game on October 20 against the Detroit Red Wings
- T. J. Oshie played in his 600th NHL game on October 21 against the Florida Panthers
- Dmitry Orlov played in his 300th NHL game on November 11 against the Pittsburgh Penguins
- Devante Smith-Pelly played in his 300th NHL game on December 16 against the Anaheim Ducks
- Matt Niskanen played in his 800th NHL game on April 5 against the Nashville Predators.
- John Carlson played in his 600th career game on March 22 against the Detroit Red Wings
- Lars Eller played in his 600th career game on March 30 against the Carolina Hurricanes
- Evgeny Kuznetsov played in his 300th career game on December 28 against the Boston Bruins.
- Michal Kempny played in his 100th NHL game on April 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins
Other Offensive Milestones
- Lars Eller earned his 200thcareer point with a goal on January 9 against the Vancouver Canucks
- Lars Eller scored his 100th career goal on March 10 against the San Jose Sharks
- Jay Beagle scored his 50thcareer goal on February 9 against the Columbus Blue Jackets
- Devante Smith-Pelly earned his 50th career assist on December 8 against the New York Rangers
- Jay Beagle recorded his 100th NHL point on November 24 against the Tampa Bay Lightning
- Dmitry Orlov earned his 100thcareer point with an assist on a Evgeny Kuznetsov goal on November 30 against the Los Angeles Kings.
- John Carlson recorded his 300th career point on January 12 against the Carolina Hurricanes with an assist on Ovechkin’s goal, becoming the 24th player and the seventh defenseman to reach that milestone in franchise history.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded his 200th career point on November 6 against the Arizona Coyotes on November 6 and was the 40th member of the Capitals to achieve that milestone.
- Braden Holtby earned his 200th career win on November 11 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He is the second-fastest goaltender to reach 200 wins, behind only Ken Dryden
- Head Coach Barry Trotz recorded his 737thwin on December 30, becoming the fifth-winningest coach in NHL history
- Head coach Barry Trotz coached his 1500th career game on February 17 against the Chicago Blackhawks, being the fifth coach to ever reach that mark. By the end of the year, he has coached 1524 games in the NHL.
- Braden Holtby played his 20,000th minute in a Capitals sweater on February 13 against the Winnipeg Jets and was the second goaltender in franchise history to reach the mark. Olaf Kolzig was the only other one.
- Barry Trotz recorded his 202nd career win with the Capitals on March 28 against the New York Rangers, which passed Bruce Boudreau for the second-most wins by a coach in franchise history. Trotz’ win total with the Caps reached 205 at the end of the 2017-18 season.
Capitals Playoff Milestones
Capitals Milestones in Sight for 2017-18 Season
Alex Ovechkin Scores Goal 600
Alex Ovechkin Plays in Game 1000
Nicklas Backstrom Scores Goal 200
Braden Holtby Earns 200th Win
By Diane Doyle