By Katie Adler
Alex Ovechkin just can’t stop breaking records.
The Capitals’ captain scored his 40th goal of the season Tuesday night, mere minutes after the ceremony honoring his 802nd goal which put him past Gordie Howe for second place on the all-time goal-scoring list had concluded. Ovechkin now has 13 total 40-goal seasons in his career, passing Wayne Gretzky for the most in NHL history.
To score the milestone marker, Ovechkin flung the puck toward a waiting Dylan Strome who was tangled up with Columbus’ Nick Blankenburg. The feed never reached Strome though as Blankenburg tipped the puck into his own net, earning Ovechkin the first goal of the night.
The tally was initially credited to Strome, but NHL officials eventually changed it to give Ovechkin the record. Strome did earn an assist on the play, as did Tom Wilson. The three have teamed up following a line shake-up by head coach Peter Laviolette, and the change seems to be paying off.
“This is a guy going for a record here,” Dylan Strome told NBC Sports Washington during the first intermission. “That was the third great play he made to me already in that game.”
The NHL commemorated Ovechkin’s newest record on Twitter.
ANOTHER OVI MILESTONE 😱
Alex Ovechkin has just surpassed @WayneGretzky for the most 40-goal seasons in NHL history (13)! pic.twitter.com/a1eJ2ZAZ1F
— NHL (@NHL) March 21, 2023
Ovechkin has broken Gretzky’s record in just 18 total seasons, all during an era generally marked by lower scoring rates. Per Capitals PR, only four total players have registered 40 or more goals at age 37 or older, with the most recent before this one coming in Ovi’s rookie season to Brendan Shanahan.
SCORING CHANGE: Alex Ovechkin has been credited with the Capitals’ first goal. It’s Ovechkin’s 40th goal of the season, marking his 13th career 40-goal season. Ovechkin passes Wayne Gretzky (12) for the most 40-goal seasons in NHL history. https://t.co/5XekIuUJaD
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) March 21, 2023
That goal-scoring prowess has been remarkably consistent – Ovechkin has scored at least 30 goals in 17 of 18 seasons. The only year he failed to meet that marker was the 2020-21 pandemic-shortened season. He has also tied Mike Gartner for the most 30-goal seasons in NHL history, hitting that mark in January of this year.
Ovechkin’s 820th goal came against the Columbus Blue Jackets, whom Ovechkin scored his first two career goals against on October 5th, 2005. He now trails Wayne Gretzky by only 74.
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