Stats Pack: Ovechkin of Capitals passes Howe for 2nd on NHL goals list

Stats Pack: Ovechkin of Capitals passes Howe for 2nd on NHL goals list


For just over 31 years, two legendary names stood as the top two scorers in NHL history: Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe. That changed on Friday when Alex Ovechkin scored his 802nd career goal in the regular season to overtake Howe (801) and move within 92 goals to Gretzky (894) to equal the most in league history.

* Ovechkin was the first person other than Gretzky or Howe to have a top-two spot on this list since December 21, 1991 – the day Gretzky scored his 732nd career goal and Marcel Dionne (731) for second place in league history.

* After hitting David Rittich with 1:38 in the first period for No. 801, Ovechkin netted No. 802 into an empty net with 60 seconds remaining on the rule (assisted by Yevgeny Kuznetsov). It was the 90th time in 192 occasions that Ovechkin has scored against a goaltender he is facing for the first time (regular season and playoffs) and finished fifth in 2022–23 Spencer Martin (Nov. 29), Felix Sandstrom (Nov. 23), Spencer Martin (Nov. 7) and Vitek Vanecek (Oct 24).

Video: [email protected]: Ovechkin scores 801st, 802nd career goals


Will he claim Wayne Gretzky’s goalscoring record?

Ovechkin is now 93 goals ahead of Gretzky for first place on the NHL all-time list. Using his 2022-23 goals per game rate (0.57), it would take The Great Eight approximately 164 regular season games to overtake The Great One. If we used his goals-per-game rate over the last 10 seasons (0.61 since 2013-14), it would take around 153 games. Either way, if he stays healthy, Ovechkin could be alone on goals about halfway through the 2024/25 season.


Will he reach 900?

No player in NHL history has ever scored 900 goals in the regular season. Ovechkin’s current contract runs until the end of the 2025/26 season (292 more games). Should Ovechkin skate in each of those competitions for the remainder of his deal, he would need to shoot at 0.34 goals per game (just over half his G/GP ratio over the past 10 seasons) to match the benchmark . For comparison, Ovechkin has missed five or more games in a season just three times in his 18-year NHL career — including just once before campaigns impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (2009-10: 10 games missed, of which 4 due to suspension). ). With the aforementioned 0.61 goals per game rate, Ovechkin would reach 900 around the 50 game mark of the 2024/25 season.


But wait, could he score 1,000 points?

Ovechkin and the Capitals have made the Stanley Cup playoffs in all but one of the last 15 seasons, with the captain going 72-69-141 in 147 postseason contests. While Ovechkin has plenty of room to climb the all-time playoff goals list — he currently shares 14th place and is within 10 goals of Maurice Richard (82) for eighth — that’s not the focus here . Including the regular season and playoffs, Ovechkin has lit the lamp 874 times in his NHL career (1,457 GP) – second only to Gretzky (1,016 in 1,695 GP). That combined goals per game ratio is once again strong, sitting at 0.60, which is what Gretzky retired at. That means Ovechkin could total 1,000 goals over the course of his next 210 NHL games (again during the 2024-25 season).

If Ovechkin plays in every possible game for the remainder of his current contract — 404 games (292 regular season and 112 playoffs) — and continues to score at least .60 goals per game, he could overtake Gretzky for most combined goals in NHL history. He needs 143 to become the all-time leader, which would take him 239 contests to score at a goals-per-game rate of .60.


Will he set the record for 50 goal seasons?

Ovechkin is on track to score 50 goals this season and become the first player in NHL history to have 10 seasons with 50 goals or more – he is currently tied with Mike Bossy and Gretzky (9 each). most in league history. He is the only player in NHL history to have a 50-goal season both before he was 21 and after he was 30 – most recently becoming the oldest NHLer ever with a 50-goal campaign (50 in 2021 -22 at age 36). Should Ovechkin reach that milestone again in 2022-23, he would first set the NHL career 30 goal record (even with Mike Gartner) and the league 40 career goal record (past Gretzky).


Will he overtake Jaromir Jagr for most game-winning goals?

Gretzky isn’t the only legendary goalscorer Ovechkin can surpass for an NHL record. Ovechkin’s 124 career winning goals ranks second in NHL history, 11 behind Jaromir Jagr (135). Ovechkin has scored at least five game-winning goals in 14 of 17 seasons starting in 2022-23 (including eight of the last nine seasons) and already has three in 2022-23. Even if he doesn’t hit another winner this season, he would still overtake Jagr at the top of the all-time list by averaging four GWGs per season for the remainder of his contract (until 2025-26).


Will he become the first player in NHL history to lead his team in goals for 20 straight seasons?

Ovechkin has led the Capitals in goals in 17 straight seasons through 2022-23 and currently leads the team with 22 goals this season. No player has ever led a team in goals for 20 straight seasons, which the Capitals’ lifelong forward has the ability to match by the end of the 2024-25 season. In fact, Ovechkins’ current closest to 17 consecutive seasons as Washington’s top scorer is 11 consecutive campaigns: Howe (1949-50 to 1959-60 with DET) and Rick Nash (2003-04 to 2014-15 with CBJ). .


How long before Ovechkin joins Gretzky in the 400/400 club?

Gretzky is the only player in NHL history to have 400 goals home (492) and 400 away (402) in the regular season. Ovechkin, who surpassed Gretzky with most away goals in NHL history (409), needs seven home goals to become the fifth player in NHL history to score 400 goals in front of a home crowd. Ovechkin is averaging 0.53 goals per game (9 in 17 GP) this season at Capital One Arena and Washington has 24 home games left, putting him in position to break the 400 mark in about 14 home games from now available (around the end of February). ).


Will someone else challenge Gretzky (or Ovechkin)?

As we follow Ovechkin’s pursuit of Gretzky, if No. 99 retains its place at the top of the list, the question will inevitably shift to the next pursuit of either The Great Eight or The Great One. Ovechkin is currently one of three active players who have averaged 0.55 goals per game or more in their career, the others are Austin Matthews (0.63G/GP) and Kirill Kapritsov (0.55G/GP). If Matthews or Kaprizov can maintain a goal average of .60 or better for the duration of their careers, they would each score 895 goals in 2035-36 and 2038-39, respectively.

A look at some of this season’s other top scorers and when they would hit the mark if they could boost their career goals-per-game rate to .60: Connor McDavid (0.51 career, 0.85 this season, 895 goals 2035–36), Jason Robertson (0.51 career, 0.71 this season, 895 goals 2039–40), Days Thompson (0.32 career, 0.81 this season, 895 goals 2039–40), Leon Draisaitl (0.46 career, 0.62 this season, 895 goals in 2035-36) and David Pastrnak (0.48 career, 0.69 this season, 895 goals in 2035–36).

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