On June 26, 2004, the Washington Capitals drafted Alexander Ovechkin with the first overall selection in the NHL Draft. It was known then that he would be a special player for the Capitals moving forward, but did anyone know just how historic he would be?
Since coming into the league, he’s been arguably the most prolific goal scorer – cementing his place among NHL lore. While he may not have the overall record – yet – it’s becoming more and more of a possibility with each passing game.
On Feb. 22, 2020, he took one step closer to Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record of 894 goals with his 700th career regular season tally. With that, I figured we would look back on some of Ovechkin’s milestone goals and which goalies became a part of history as he looks to break the all-time record in the coming seasons.
First Career Goal (Oct. 5, 2005)
It didn’t take Ovechkin long to get going in the NHL. Debuting for the Capitals on Oct. 5, 2005, as a 20-year-old, their future captain potted two goals before Dainius Zubrus won it for the Capitals late in the second period.
Ovechkin became the first player in Capitals history to score two goals in his debut and he can thank, then Columbus Blue Jackets’ goaltender, Pascal Leclaire for that designation.
Leclaire, who was in his second season with the Blue Jackets, gave up three goals in the loss on 19 shots and finished with a .842 save percentage in the game. Ovechkin’s goals were two of 97 that Leclaire gave up that season in 33 games for the Blue Jackets.
In 37 career games against the Blue Jackets, Ovechkin has 18 goals and 28 points – including five against Leclaire over his career.
100th Career Goal (Oct. 12, 2007)
It took him just over two calendar years and 166 more games, but Ovechkin’s 100th NHL tally came in his 167th regular season game against another legend of the game in Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers.
It was the only goal the Capitals scored in a 3-1 loss to the Rangers on Oct. 12, 2007, but it was a big one for Ovechkin.
Lundqvist went on to stop 24 of the 25 shots he faced that night and took the win along with a .960 save percentage.
As for Ovechkin’s career numbers against Lundqvist and the Rangers, he has 33 goals and 53 points in 58 career regular season games against Rangers and has a career-high 24 goals against Lundqvist – the most of any goalie in his career. To put that into perspective, 3.4 percent of his goals have come against Lundqvist.
200th Career Goal (Feb. 5, 2009)
Two and have years after tallying his 100th career goal, Ovechkin victimized another incredible goaltender with yet another milestone goal as he tallied his 200th career goal in a 5-4 loss to Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings.
Ovechkin’s third period tally got the Capitals within a goal midway through the final frame, before Kyle Calder put it away from the Kings that night. As for Quick, he stopped 41 of 45 shots for a .911 save percentage and the win. Still, he became just another piece in Ovechkin’s goal-scoring story.
As for his career numbers against Quick, he’s scored seven goals against the Kings’ netminder over his career and has 11 goals and 21 points in 21 regular season games against the Kings organization.
300th Career Goal (Apr. 5, 2011)
Fast forward another two years and Ovechkin struck another milestone – his 300th career regular season goal. The tally came in a 3-2 shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Apr. 4, 2011 when he fired a first period shot past James Reimer to tie the game.
Reimer went on to stop 39 of 41 shots, but took the loss in the shootout. He took home a .951 save percentage in the game, but remains one of the few goalies named in the Ovechkin milestone hunt.
Ovechkin has torched the Maple Leafs over his career with 41 goals and 73 points in 50 career regular season games. As for Reimer, Ovechkin has put the puck past him on six occasions – including his 300th career goal.
400th Career Goal (Dec. 20, 2013)
Less than two years later, Ovechkin had reached another 100-goal plateau with his 400th career goal coming against the Carolina Hurricanes on an empty net. The Capitals won the game 4-2 and Ovechkin’s milestone goal was the insurance marker with Cam Ward on the Hurricanes’ bench.
To date, Ovechkin has scored 43 goals and 95 points in 81 regular season games against the Hurricanes. While his 400th tally was on an empty net, it might not have mattered considering his all-time numbers against Ward as well.
Over his career, Ward fell victim to Ovechkin 19 times. He’s among the top five goaltenders when it comes to goals against for the superstar Russian. He falls just shy of Lundqvist’s 24 and makes up for 2.7 percent of Ovechkin’s career goals.
All-Time Russian Scorer (Nov. 19, 2015)
Not all of his milestones came as century goal marks. In Nov. 2015, Ovechkin scored his 484th career goal to become the all-time leader in goals scored by a Russian-born player – passing Sergei Fedorov.
The goal came in a 3-2 loss against the Dallas Stars – a third-period tally that tied the game. The goalie that allowed the goal was Kari Lehtonen, who finished the game stopping 33 of 35 shots for a .943 save percentage.
Ovechkin had Lehtonen’s number of his career, scoring 22 career goals against the former Atlanta Thrashers and Dallas Stars’ netminder. As for his numbers against the Stars, Ovechkin has 10 goals and 16 points in 20 career games against them.
500th Career Goal (Jan. 10, 2016)
Just under two months after becoming the highest scoring Russian player, Ovechkin fired home his 500th career goal in a 7-1 thrashing of Andrew Hammond and the Ottawa Senators. Ovechkin also added his 501st that night as he finished the game with two goals.
Related: The NHL 500-Goal Club
As for Hammond, he gave up all seven goals on just 36 shots finishing the game with a .806 save percentage. While he wasn’t one of the more common victims in Ovechkin’s history of goal scoring, the two goals he gave up to Ovechkin in 2016 were included his 500th career goal. They were, however, the only two he ever surrendered to the superstar forward.
Ottawa, as a team, hasn’t been as lucky over the years. In 48 career regular season games against the Senators, Ovechkin has tallied 31 goals and 51 points.
His 500th goal came in just his 801st NHL game making him the fifth-fastest player in NHL history to reach that mark.
600th Career Goal (Mar. 12, 2018)
It was another two-goal game in 2018 that locked Ovechkin in as a 600-goal scorer. The goals came in a 3-2 overtime victory over Connor Hellebuyck and the Winnipeg Jets. Once again, it was part of a 40-plus-goal campaign and, although Hellebuyck stopped 40 of 43 shots, he was handed the loss in the game.
Related: The NHL 600-Goal Club
Ovechkin has dominated the Jets’ franchise over his career scoring 48 goals and 92 points in 66 career regular season games against the Jets/Thrashers organization. While Hellebuyck his fairly fresh to the league still, his numbers aren’t nearly as bad against Ovechkin.
Like Hammond, Hellebuyck has only given up two goals to Ovechkin in his career. Considering they only play twice per season, there’s a good chance that number won’t inflate anytime soon. That said, Hellebuyck remains one of the goaltenders victimized by an Ovechkin milestone.
700th Career Goal (Feb. 22, 2020)
With his latest milestone – his 700th career goal – Ovechkin made the New Jersey Devils and Mackenzie Blackwood the answer to a future trivia question. While it did come in a loss, Ovechkin tallied a third period goal to reach the milestone.
As for Blackwood, he finished the game with 33 saves on 35 shots and took the win. It was only the second time that Ovechkin has beat Blackwood and was the 30th time he’s scored on the Devils in his career. In 57 games against the Devils, he has 30 goals and 64 points.
Related: The NHL 700-Goal Club
Now, already into his next 100 goals, Ovechkin is looking to become just the third player in NHL history to reach 800 goals – along with Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe. While it won’t be a milestone he reaches this season, he could find himself among the top six goal scorers of all-time by the end of the season.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.