Alex Ovechkin scored a hat trick last night. Sure, it was a weird hat trick with two empty-netters, but it still counted. If anything, I think the flukiness of that hat trick underscores how Ovechkin’s age-34 season has gone so far and how he’s such a special player.
Prior to Saturday, Ovechkin had been scoring on 12.9 percent of his shots, a good clip, but notably below his 14.4 in the last prior seasons. With three goals on four shots on Saturday, Ovechkin is now at 14.8 percent on the season. That hot streak has put him back in the Rocket Richard race for most goals in the NHL.
This accomplishment is, at once, both unremarkable (“there goes Ovi again”) and stupefyingly special. No one at age 34 is supposed to be this productive. Then again, no one else is Ovi.