The Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin is a superstar and a phenomenal ambassador for the game of hockey. The Russian’s presence on the ice has put fear into every opposing NHL team since he made his NHL debut way back in 2005. It’s hard to believe that Ovechkin is only now entering into his so-called ‘peak’ years, turning 30 next month.
So, with that in mind, and acknowledging that this list will change over the next 10 years, here are the Great 8’s top-five NHL goals.
#5. The Four-Man Line Goal vs. Montreal Canadiens
Coming in at number five is a goal that wasn’t so much eye-popping as it was tenacious. I’m not sure what the Canadiens’ coach said to his players once they left the ice after this goal, but something along the lines of “that was a beautifully performed rendition of ‘A Chorus Line’ boys” was in order. After retrieving the puck on the right wing, Ovechkin drew four Montreal players over to the left before slotting the puck through two of them and past the goalie.
#4. The End-to-End Goal vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Ovechkin is known for his speed out of the gate, but the goal placing at number four on this list illustrates it better than any of his other goals. Picking the puck up in his own zone (and not too far away from his own goalie), Ovechkin races down the ice in seven seconds – evading three Chicago D-men – before firing home from short range after a ridiculous ‘through-the legs’ deke. This one is from the 2011-12 season.
#3. The ‘On-the-Knees’ Goal vs. New York Rangers
This was a goal that I covered for The Hockey Writers earlier this year during the playoffs. It came in a losing effort against the New York Rangers in Game Two of the Stanley Cup Conference Semifinal matchup, but that doesn’t take away from the extraordinary goal. When a goal is scored from one’s knees after gliding in between two of the best defensemen in the league, it warrants inclusion in any top-five list.
#2. The Lying Down Goal vs. Montreal Canadiens
In the 2008-09 season, Ovechkin scored another highlight-reel goal that had to be seen to be believed. A Montreal pass with too much weight was picked up by Ovechkin near the center line, and an amazing spin-around move set him flying toward Montreal’s goal, leaving a somewhat confused Roman Hamrlik in his wake. However, that was the easy part. The goal was scored after Ovechkin tumbled to the ice, proving that the Russian does take things lying down.
#1. The ‘Dangle-icious’ Goal vs. New Jersey Devils
There will be a few Ovechkin fans crying out that the goal he scored from his back against Phoenix in his rookie season should not only have made this top five list but should sit at number one. As great as that goal was, there was (dare I say it) an element of luck involved. For me, his goal against New Jersey in 2014 showed everything that the powerhouse left wing has on offer: tenacity, strength, skill and a seemingly acquired skill of defying gravity (almost). Note the excellent commentary by CSN Washington’s Joe Beninati who called the goal ‘dangle-icious.’