Alex Ovechkin seemingly scores at will in the regular season and playoffs. But on Wednesday, he did something goal-scoring-wise that he hasn’t done since shortly after the Capitals won their first Stanley Cup in 2018.
Ovi scored an actual goal in the preseason!
With the Capitals up 3-2 on the Red Wings, the team found itself with full possession of the puck while Detroit had an empty net. After ragging the puck a bit, John Carlson found Ovechkin wide open near the end boards from just outside the opposing blue line.
Ovechkin quickly unleashed a shot that splashed into the back of Detroit’s yawning net, giving him the empty netter and most importantly, a McNuggets Minute goal.
According to Fox Sports’ statistics (which I later manually proofed by going through game recaps via NHL.com), Ovechkin hasn’t scored in a preseason game since a September 30, 2018 game against the St. Louis Blues — 1,466 days ago.
Ovechkin scored via a slapshot on Blues goaltender Chad Johnson after St. Louis turned it over directly in front of the net.
Ovi would score four preseason goals in exhibition games that year.
He would follow that up with goalless campaigns in the 2019 and 2021 preseasons — there was no preseason in 2020 due to the pandemic — before finally scoring again versus Net, Empty.
For those looking to derive meaning from these preseason stats, there is none.
Ovechkin did not score any goals during the 2017 preseason, which preceded the Caps Cup run later that year. Last year, after not scoring in three preseason games, Ovechkin went on to have his ninth 50-goal season during the 2021-22 campaign.
But hey — it’s a fun bit of trivia for one of the game’s greatest players.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB