Ever since the Washington Capitals drafted him drafted back in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, the NHL debut of Alexander Mikhailovich Ovechkin was much-anticipated. Scouts reported that he would be a “generational talent” on the order of Wayne Gretzky. His debut would not occur until Opening Day of the 2005-06 season, due to the fact the NHL players were locked out for the entirety of the 2004-05 season.
Goal #1 – October 5, 2005 — Opponent: Columbus Blue Jackets at Home
The Caps opened at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets on October 5, 2005. Ovechkin was placed on the first line with Dainius Zubrus and the Caps’ Captain at the time, Jeff Halpern. The Caps had fallen behind 1-0 just under seven minutes into the second period. But less than a minute later, Halpern battled for the puck at the boards, passed to Zubrus who then passed to Ovechkin who scored his first NHL goal at 7:21 into the period.
Ovechkin scored his second goal of the game just three and a half minutes later which, coincidentally, was another game tying goal. The Caps went on to win the game 3-2.
Goal #100 – October 12, 2007 — Opponent: New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden
Ovechkin scored 52 goals during his debut season in 2005-06, and followed that up in 2006-07 with 46 goals. Thus, he had 98 goals going into the 2007-08 season. He registered goal #99 in the second game of the season against the defending Stanley Cup Champion, Carolina Hurricanes. In Game 4, the Caps traveled to Madison Square Garden to play the New York Rangers on October 12, 2007. Going into that game, the Caps had started off the season winning their first three games. The game did not start off well for Ovechkin and the Capitals, as just 10 seconds into the game, Ovechkin took a tripping penalty to put the Rangers on an immediate power play. Scott Gomez of the Rangers scored on the ensuing power play at 1:33 putting the Caps into a 1-0 hole. But then Ovechkin redeemed himself at 7:46, scoring his 100th goal at 7:46 when the Caps themselves were on a power play. The score was now tied 1-1. But, alas, the Rangers added two more power play goals during first period to pull ahead 3-1, which ended up being the final score. Ovechkin’s century goal milestone came in a penalty-filled game where the Caps took nine minor penalties and the Rangers took six penalties. All four goals in the game came on power plays. The Rangers were clearly better on the power play that day, scoring three goals, to the Caps scoring only one. This snapped the Caps three-game winning streak and, in the end, was the first game of a four-game losing streak for them.
Goal #61 During 2007-08 Season Which Breaks Team Seasonal Record – March 25, 2008 — Opponent: Carolina Hurricanes at RBC Center
After performing poorly throughout much of October and November, the Caps fired Head Coach Ned Hanlon and replaced him with Bruce Boudreau. The Caps had turned around their season and were now in a push for the playoffs, chasing the Carolina Hurricanes, who were leading the Southeast Division. The Caps were playing the Hurricanes in RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, so this was a golden opportunity for them to gain ground. Going into the game, Ovechkin had 60 goals and needed just one more goal to break the Capitals’ club record, originally set by Dennis Maruk during the 1981-82 season. He had tied Maruk’s team record on March 23 in a come-from-behind victory against the Atlanta Thrashers.
Ovechkin scored at 9:41 into the second period to put the Caps ahead 2-1. This was Goal #61 for him, which broke the tie for the team record. However, Carolina tied the game at 2-2 before the period had ended. There was no scoring during third period or in the five-minute overtime period. In the end, the Caps won the game 3-2 in a shootout and were able to gain one point on the Hurricanes and had closed the points gap.
When the season ended, Ovechkin had 65 goals for the year. The Caps remained hot and passed-up Carolina in the standings to win the division and earn a playoff spot, while Carolina, the defending Stanley Cup Champion, missed the playoffs entirely.
Goal #200 – February 5, 2009 — Opponent: Los Angeles Kings at Home
On February 5, 2009, the Caps played the Los Angeles Kings at home. While the Capitals had scored the first goal only 15 seconds into the game, they ended up being falling behind 4-2 after two periods. Just over halfway through the third period, at 10:32 to be exact, Ovechkin scored the 200th goal of his career. The Caps had pulled within one goal of tying. However, the Kings added another goal to pull ahead 5-3. The final score was 5-4 in favor of Los Angeles Kings. This loss ended a three-game winning streak. After the game, Ovechkin did not really wish to talk about his personal statistics as the team had played poorly for two periods. The goal was #37 for the season for him.
Game Recap from NHL.com
Goal #300 – April 5, 2011 — Opponent: Toronto Maple Leafs on the Road
The Caps had traveled to Toronto, Ontario to play the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Caps had already clinched their fourth consecutive Southeast Division title and were trying for the best record in the Eastern Conference. The game did not start off well for the Caps as Nikolai Kulemin scored a power play goal for Toronto at 5:37. However, at 9:37, the Caps earned a power play of their own. Nearly two minutes later, Toronto took another penalty, putting the Caps on a 5-3 advantage for that power play. Near the end of the first penalty, Ovechkin scored a goal to tie up the score. This goal was goal #300 of Ovechkin’s career and his 31st of the season. The teams traded goals during the second period and ended up tied 2-2 when regulation time was over. Mike Knuble scored in the fourth round of a shootout as the Caps won the game 3-2. This win gave the Caps the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Game Recap from Washington Post
Goal #400 — December 20, 2013 — Opponent: Carolina Hurricanes on the Road
The Caps had traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina to play the Carolina Hurricanes. The game did not start off well for the Caps as Jordan Staal of the Canes scored a goal with three minutes left during the first period. The second period went better for the Caps as the Caps got two power play goals during the first half of the period to take the lead. The Canes then tied the game on a power play goal of their own about a minute past the halfway point of second period. The Caps took the lead against with less than five minutes to go in the period on another power play goal and now lead 3-2. There was no more scoring until the Hurricanes pulled their goalie and Ovechkin got the empty net goal with a half minute to go. This was his 400th career goal. It was also his 29th goal of the season.
Goal #473 Which Breaks Franchise Career Record – April 2, 2015 — Opponent: Montreal Canadiens on the Road
The Caps traveled to Montreal, Quebec to play the Montreal Canadiens on April 2, 2015 and were close to clinching a playoff berth. The game was scoreless after the first period. But then Montreal struck for a goal with less than a minute into the second period. Joel Ward tied it up just over half way through. Ovechkin broke the tie with just under six minutes to go in the period, staking the Caps to a 2-1 lead. This goal was goal #473 which broke the team’s franchise record for career goals which had previously been held by Peter Bondra. This was also goal #51 for the year by Ovechkin. However, Montreal struck back less than a minute later and tied up the score. Near the end of the period, Montreal struck again and was now ahead 3-2.
However, Ovechkin scored again over half way through the third period to tie the game again at 3-3. This was goal #52 for him. Both teams scored one more goal before the third period was over so the game proceeded to Overtime and then to a shootout. The Caps won this shootout in the fourth round when Troy Brouwer scored. The final score was 5-4. Because of the win, the Caps moved into second place in their division and clinched a playoff spot. Ovechkin now held the Caps’ franchise record for goals.
Goal #484 to Break Career Record for Goals by a Russian – November 19, 2015 — Opponent: Dallas Stars
It was during November 2015 when Alex Ovechkin started approaching the All-Time record for goals held by a Russian, held by Sergei Fedorov who had 483. He had tied Fedorov’s record on November 7 during a 3-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. In the intervening games between November 7 and November 19, he had had two goals disallowed by coach’s challenges. Only the previous day, he had taken 15 shots on goal in a game against the Detroit Red Wings and had scored on none of them.
The Caps had returned home from Detroit and were back at home to play the Dallas Stars to start a 5-game home stand. The game was a see saw affair. The Stars scored first during the first period, but the Caps answered with a goal of their own. But, then in third period, Dallas pulled ahead again. This time, Ovechkin scored to tie it up, tapping in the puck after getting a pass from Backstrom. Coincidentally, Fedorov had set the original record, then held by Alexander Mogilny, after getting a pass from Backstrom on October 25, 2008 which also took place against the Stars and, at the time, was the Caps’ last win against the Stars for many years.
Goal #500 – January 10, 2016 — Opponent: Ottawa Senators at Home
Going into the game of January 10, 2016 against the Ottawa Senators, Alex Ovechkin had 499 goals, having scored 2 goals in the Caps’ previous game against the New York Rangers the previous day. In this game, the Caps started off with two first period goals to take a 2-0 lead against the Senators. The Senators came back and got a goal by Mike Hoffman at 3:32 in the second period. But, after that, the Caps scored 2 more goals to open up a 4-1 lead. None of those 4 goals had been scored by Ovechkin. But then a minute into a power play, at 16:19 to be exact, Alex Ovechkin scored his 500th goal. The score was now 6-1. Teammates jumped from the bench onto the ice to help him celebrate the 500-goal milestone. Ovechkin added another goal halfway through third period which was his 501St career goal. He was the first player to score 500 NHL goals since Jarome Iginla who had scored his 500th on January 12, 2012.
NHL Point #1000 – January 11, 2017 — Opponent: Pittsburgh Penguins at Home
Going into a Wednesday Rivalry Night game against the Capitals long time nemesis, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ovechkin had 999 total points in the NHL. He wasted no time scoring a goal in that game as he streaked down the right side of the ice, cut to the middle, maneuvered the puck towards the slot, and then shot a wrist shot that got past Marc-Andre Fleury in goal. This goal was only 35 seconds into the contest and gave the Caps a 1-0 lead. He was the second fasted active player to achieve that milestone behind only Jaromir Jagr. He added a second goal in that game for good measure as the Caps downed Pittsburgh 5-2. The win gave the Caps sole possession of second place in the Metropolitan Division, behind only the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Goal #600 – March 12, 2018 — Opponent: Winnipeg Jets at Home
The Caps were playing the Winnipeg Jets at home on March 12, 2018. Going into that game, Ovechkin had 598 goals. He scored a power play goal, goal #599, during first period while the team was in a two-man advantage situation at the 4.35 mark during first period. The Jets tied the scored nearly a minute later. Ovi scored his 600th goal early in the second period. That lead held up through the rest of the second period until Patrick Laine tied the score about five minutes into the third period. The score remained at 2-2 and proceeded to go to Overtime when Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the game winner.
He finished the 2017-18 season with one final milestone, winning the Stanley Cup. He had pivotal goals in all four of the playoff series and won the Conn Smythe Trophy for most valuable player in the playoffs. Ovechkin’s pivotal playoff goals will be discussed in a later story.
By Diane Doyle