OVECHKIN BECOMES EIGHTH MEMBER OF NHL’S 700-GOAL CLUB
Alex Ovechkin became both the second-youngest and second-fastest player to join the NHL’s 700-goal club with his tally Saturday in New Jersey, joining seven others in the prestigious group. The only player to reach the 700-goal mark at a younger age or in fewer games than Ovechkin (age 34, 1,144 GP) is all-time goals leader Wayne Gretzky (age 29, 886 GP), whom Ovechkin now trails by only 194 goals.
* Ovechkin’s achievement at age 34 is rare not only from an NHL perspective, but also across the professional sports landscape. Among major career scoring milestone lists with fewer than 10 names for NBA players (30,000 points), MLB hitters (600 home runs) and NFL quarterbacks (400 passing touchdowns), only two players reached the benchmark before age 35: LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
* Ovechkin (Moscow, Russia) also is one of five players on one of those four lists who was born outside North America, joining Jaromir Jagr (Kladno, Czech Republic) as the second NHL representative. The others: Dirk Nowitzki (NBA; Germany), Sammy Sosa (MLB; Dominican Republic) and Albert Pujols (MLB; Dominican Republic).
* Ovechkin joins Gordie Howe (786 with Detroit) as the second player to score at least 700 goals with one NHL franchise. Of the players on the lists noted above, seven hit the milestone after playing for only one franchise: Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), Howe (Detroit Red Wings), Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks), Karl Malone (Utah Jazz), Tom Brady (New England Patriots) and Dan Marino (Miami Dolphins).
* Of note: There are nine NFL players who have at least 100 rushing touchdowns, including two who achieved the feat with the Washington Redskins – John Riggins (Oct. 13, 1985) and Adrian Peterson (Sept. 9, 2018). Riggins, 36, is the oldest player to join the NFL’s 100 rushing touchdowns club.
‘THE GREAT 8’: OVI PASSES FOUR HALL OF FAMERS, HITS 700 GOALS IN 14-GAME SPAN
Standing at 684 career goals on the morning of Jan. 13, Alex Ovechkin scored twice that night against Carolina to Teemu Selanne into 11th place on the NHL’s all-time goals list, triggering an avalanche of achievements over the course of the next six weeks – despite a five-game point drought that matched the longest of his career.
* Overall, Ovechkin leapfrogged five members of the Hockey Hall of Fame this season – Luc Robitaille, Teemu Selanne, Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman and Mark Messier – including four from Jan. 13-31. He now sits eight goals shy of tying Mike Gartner (708) for seventh place in NHL history.
NEXT UP: CHASING THE GREAT ONE’S RECORD
Alex Ovechkin became the fastest player in League history to go from 600 to 700 goals (155 GP), besting the previous mark of 169 games set by Wayne Gretzky at age 29.
* The 155 games Ovechkin needed to go from 600 to 700 goals were the second-fewest he has needed to get from one 100-goal milestone to another in his career – he jumped from 100 to 200 goals in only 130 games, at age 23.
* The Capitals captain now needs only 195 goals to surpass Gretzky (894) for the most in League history after accelerating into the 700-goal club over the past four weeks. Ovechkin (1,144 GP) joined Gretzky (886 GP) and Brett Hull (1,157 GP) as the only players to hit the milestone in fewer than 1,200 games.
* Gretzky (894) and Gordie Howe (801) are the only players in the NHL’s 800-goal club, with Gretzky hitting the mark in his 1,116th career game (March 20, 1994) and Howe doing so in game number 1,748 (Feb. 29, 1980). Gretzky needed 231 games to go from 700 to 800 goals, while Howe required 256.
* Scoring an average of 0.61 goals-per-game in his career – to rank fifth in NHL history – “The Great 8” is on track to score his 800th NHL goal in 164 more games (career game 1,308) and overtake “The Great One” as the League’s all-time goals leader in about 320 more games – which equates to sometime within the next four seasons.
AGE IS BUT A NUMBER TO ALEX OVECHKIN
Already a record eight-time winner of the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, 34-year-old Alex Ovechkin ranks third in the NHL with 42 goals in 2019-20, trailing 23-year-old David Pastrnak and 22-year-old Auston Matthews, who have 43 goals apiece.
* Ovechkin (34 years, 200 days on April 4) can become the third-oldest player to lead the NHL in goals behind Bill Cook (36 years, 165 days) in 1932-33 and Gordie Howe (34 years, 358 days) in 1962-63.
* Ovechkin hit the 40-goal mark in just his 53rd game of 2019-20 (Feb. 4), the third-fewest games he has ever required to reach that plateau. Since the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy was introduced in 1998-99, there have been only eight instances of a player reaching the 40-goal mark in 55 or fewer games –Ovechkin accounts for five of those.