The NHL announced on Sunday that Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has been named the league’s first star of December. Ovechkin had a historic month that saw the 37-year-old score the 800th goal of his career in a 7-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on December 15.
Ovechkin also passed Gordie Howe for second on the league’s all-time goal-scoring list with two goals in a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on December 23, and recorded his second hat-trick in 16 days in Saturday’s 9-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
Ovechkin tied for second in the NHL with 13 tallies in 15 games (13-9—22), highlighted by his 801st and 802nd career goals on Dec. 23 vs. WPG to overtake Gordie Howe for second place in League history, as the Capitals (21-13-5, 47 points) posted an 11-2-2 month to move into third in the Metropolitan Division standings.
Ovechkin, who also ranked second in shots on goal (71), third in points (22) and tied for third in plus/minus (+12) during December, collected points in 11 of his 15 appearances. That included seven games with goals as well as seven multi-point outings, highlighted by a pair of hat tricks: Dec. 13 at CHI (3-1—4) and Dec. 31 vs. MTL (3-0—3).
The first hat trick was capped by Ovechkin’s 800th career goal as well as his 20th of the season, the 18th consecutive campaign he has reached the plateau. The latter performance marked Ovechkin’s 30th career hat trick, making him the sixth player in NHL history to achieve the milestone.
The 37-year-old Ovechkin, a nine-time Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner, now has 806 career goals (1,313 GP) – 88 back of Wayne Gretzky (894 G in 1,487 GP) for the most in League history. He also has compiled 26-19—45 in 39 total games this season, placing among the top performers in shots on goal (3rd; 169), goals (t-3rd) and points (8th).
Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (14 goals, 31 points in 15 games) and Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson (13 goals, 22 points in 11 games) got the second and third stars of the month, respectively.