hi-res-7982356_crop_northSome ill-informed NHL broadcasters and fans wrote Russian winger Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals off a couple of seasons ago when he seemed to be struggling.

Ovechkin has proved all of his critics wrong, as he became the sixth-fastest player in league history to score 400 regular season goals. He achieved the feat in the third period of his team’s win over the Carolina Hurricanes yesterday at the PNC Arena in Raleigh. Ovechkin scored the insurance marker in the empty net with 24.5 seconds to go.

Ovechkin scored the milestone goal in his 634th contest. The only players to do it faster were Wayne Gretzky, who holds the record for the fastest 400 goals by scoring them in 436 games; Mike Bossy, who did it in 506 games; Mario Lemieux who took 508 games; Brett Hull who accomplished it in 520 matches; and Jari Kurri, who took 608 games to achieve it.

At 28 years of age, Ovechkin now becomes the seventh-youngest NHL player to reach the 400-goal plateau.

There’s no question that Ovechkin is enjoying one of the best years of his career, as he leads the NHL with 29 goals, 173 shots on net and 12 power play markers.

He’s also second in the league with 22 points on the power play, fifth in total points with 40 and his four game-winning goals rank him eighth in that department. In his last 56 season games, Ovechkin has managed to find the back of the net 52 times dating back to last campaign.

Ovechkin now sits in second place on the Capitals for the club’s all-time goal scoring mark as passed Mike Gartner when he scored his 398th goal back on Dec. 15. Ovechkin managed to score his 398 goals in 128 fewer games than it took Gartner.

The native of Moscow also recently set a new club mark for career power play goals when he scored his 138th to pass former team leader Peter Bondra. In addition, the NHL named Ovechkin the league’s First Star for the week that ended on December 15. It was the 11th time he has been awarded the honor in his career.

Since he entered the league back in the 2005-06 season, nobody has scored more goals than Ovechkin’s 400. Over that time, he also leads the league in points with 775, power play goals with 139, power play points at 303 and in game-winning goals with 63.

There are only two other players in NHL history who have scored at a better rate when it comes to Ovechkin’s 0.63 goals per game. These are Mike Bossy, who scored at a rate of 0.76 goals a game, and Mario Lemieux, who clocks in at 0.75.

While Ovechkin’s 400 goals are quite an achievement, it’s not exactly a short list since 88 other NHL players have accomplished the feat before him.

He told the press, “It’s big number and being in this kind of company it’s a tremendous honor for me. I never felt like I’m going to be in this position when I start playing in NHL, of course I wanted to be but thanks to everybody my coaches, my partners. Without them I can’t reach these numbers.”


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