And then there were three. Before last night’s game between the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks, only two players in NHL history had scored more than 800 goals.
Before puck drop, Alex Ovechkin had recorded 797, but everyone understood what would happen when he scored on his first two shots. The 37-year-old winger then completed the 29th hattrick of his career, as he sent a rebound in goal 6:33 into the third. Ovechkin exploded with joy, and so did his teammates, who all poured onto the ice to celebrate with him.
It was a special moment, and it also means that Ovechkin is just one goal shy of Gordie Howe for second all-time. The Russian superstar is just 94 goals behind Wayne Gretzky, who holds the record with 894 goals.
And although the game was played in Chicago, the fans celebrated Ovi’s goal by throwing their hats onto the ice and chanting, ”Ovi! Ovi!”
Ovechkin praised the crowd for their nice gestures after the game.
“Even in the warmup, I was feeling that energy right away,” he said. “The fans watch me and the fans want to see that historical moment.”
But it wasn’t just the fans who showed appreciation for Ovechkin. The Chicago Blackhawks players were all a class act through Ovechkin’s historic night. And especially Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. They both went to the Capitals’ bench to congratulate him with a handshake.
Ovechkin was thankful.
“When we play on the ice we’re not friends, but as soon as the whistle stops, we respect each other,” Ovechkin said following the 7-3 win. “What they’ve done for the league is incredible as well. To have that moment after the game, it means a lot.”
Jonathan Toews could barely take in what Ovi had just done.
“It’s mind-blowing,” Toews said. “How many guys can score goals at his rate in the season, let alone year after year after year? He’s one of a kind, for sure.
“Pretty incredible milestone. In some sense when we’re out of this moment, maybe it’s one of those things you’ll look back on. One of the great players of all time, so all due respect to him and scoring three goals to do it, getting himself an ovation and the ‘Ovie’ chant in our building tonight. So all that kind of, aside from the milestone, it didn’t feel great on our side, but lots of respect for him.”