Superstar scorer Alexander Ovechkin became just the eighth player in NHL history to reach the 700-goal milestone Saturday when he scored the game-tying goal in the team’s matinee against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.
It seems fitting that the Washington Capitals’ captain — affectionately nicknamed “The Great 8” — became the eighth player to reach 700 goals. While it took him a few games to hit 699, his goal Saturday give him not only the milestone number but No. 42 on the season as he keeps pace for the Rocket Richard Trophy.
Ovechkin has been doing this — dangling through defenders, scoring from his knees or simply firing one-time slap shots — like No. 700 — from the faceoff circle for a long time now. There are plenty of highlights (700 goals, remember?) to sift through when considering the best moments in Ovechkin’s 15-year NHL career.
Sporting News collected Alexander Ovechkin’s top seven goals throughout his career in honor of No. 700:
Oct. 5, 2005 — first NHL goal vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
Ovechkin made his mark on the league quickly when he scored two goals in his very first NHL game. The first goal of that October 2005 night starts our list because, in hindsight, it was a hint of what became Ovechkin’s signature one-time shot. Then 18 years old, Ovechkin peels away from Blue Jackets defenders in the slot as his teammates establish possession behind the net.
When Dainius Zubrus circles around the net, he sees Ovechkin all alone. While the top of the slot is a few feet too far from Ovechkin’s typical faceoff circle shooting location, the result was the same: The Great 8’s first career goal.
Jan. 11, 2017 — 1,000th point vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Let’s switch gears from Ovechkin’s earliest tally to his 1,000th NHL point. This goal came just 35 seconds into a game against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. It all starts when T.J. Oshie breaks the puck out of the Capitals’ defensive zone to Ovechkin’s long-time center, Nicklas Backstrom.
Backstrom and Ovechkin catch the Penguins in a 2-on-1 rush. Ovechkin toe-drags around the stick of would-be poke checker Kris Letang to fire the puck on net to reach the 1,000 point mark. He later scored a second goal in that game, assisted by John Carlson and Backstrom again.
June 7, 2018 — Stanley Cup Final, Game 5 vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Ovechkin set a Capitals’ franchise record for most goals in a single postseason with this one-time shot on the power play. It’s another near-quintessential Ovechkin goal, even if the shot came without the full wind-up expected for a slap shot. Peep the assist by Backstrom on this, too — he places the puck directly between all four Golden Knights penalty-killers where nobody can reach it as it sails across the ice.
Ovechkin’s goal wasn’t the game-winner that evening, but he ended the night hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time in his career.
Jan. 9, 2016 — at New York Rangers
A highlight-reel save by Braden Holtby on Derek Stepan paved the way for Ovechkin to score a highlight-reel goal in overtime against the Rangers in January 2016. Ovi picks up the rebound off Holtby’s pads, takes the puck behind his own net — and then he figures he may as well finish the Rangers off by himself.
Ovechkin skates nearly the length of the entire rink on this individual rush, beats Rick Nash off the play outright before slipping the puck between Henrik Lundqvist’s pads.
April 24, 2009 — Game 5 vs. New York Rangers
Throwing it back to Capitals-Rangers in the first round of the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs. Washington already led Game 5 of this series 3-0 as the second period closed, but the puck trickled to Ovechkin just outside the Capitals’ defensive zone and sent him off to the races.
He dodges Chris Drury just inside the offensive blue line, completely undresses Derek Morris and falls to his knees before backhanding the puck past Lundqvist.
Feb. 18, 2009 — vs. Montreal Canadiens
This goal might sum up how Ovechkin plays hockey in less than 10 seconds. He’s endlessly creative, dangerously speedy and never gives up on the play, even when it sends him to the ice.
As Montreal defenseman Roman Hamrlik chased an errant pass from his defense partner into the neutral zone, Ovechkin bursts into action. He backhands the puck up the boards past Hamrlik while simultaneously spinning around his opponent on the opposite side, creating an open lane to the net out of a seemingly innocuous play just a second earlier.
When Kyle Chipchura tries to muscle him off the puck, Ovechkin falls to the ice — but he still controls the puck from his side and flips it past Carey Price just before the two collide.
Jan. 16, 2006 — at Phoenix Coyotes
There really are no words to describe this, but let’s give it a shot. Ovechkin was still a rookie when he made himself a household name — and this goal he scored while sliding away from the net on his back still blows minds today.
How? How does he even orient his stick toward the net after tumbling to the ice? Even years after that play, Ovechkin himself still didn’t have a straight answer for how he managed that feat.
“It was just luck,” he told NHL.com in 2017. “Luck? Skill? I don’t know. Call it whatever.”
This goal — known as “The Goal” — was Ovechkin’s second of the game and capped a three-point night for the then-rookie, giving him 32 goals and 22 assists in his first 44 NHL games.
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