Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin scored his 49th and 50th goals of the season in a 4-3 overtime loss at the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday night, hitting a milestone that he has seemingly made look easy year after year.
Vegas coach Peter DeBoer pulled starting goalie Robin Lehner after the first period and turned to Logan Thompson. Ovechkin wasted no time in introducing himself to the rookie netminder when he one-timed Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s cross-ice pass to put Washington ahead 2-1 at 2:57 of the second period.
Ovechkin then got his 50th of the season and career No. 780 when he skated down the right side and blasted a shot that Thompson had no chance to keep up with, tying the game at 3 with 6:24 left.
It marked the ninth time in his career that Ovechkin scored 50 goals, tying Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky for most in NHL history.
“Obviously, it’s pretty good company,” Ovechkin said. “Obviously, lots of great memories, locker room, everything, hotel. It’s gonna stay here forever. Yeah, pretty fun moments.”
Moments including the one after his second goal on Wednesday, when a boisterous group of Capitals fans broke out with chants of “Ovi! Ovi! Ovi!” ringing loud and clear.
“Yeah, it’s pretty cool,” Ovechkin said. “We have lots of fans all over the place, and they came to see the game and they cheered for us, so thanks [to] them.”
Ovechkin, 36, is now the oldest player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a season. And he joined Phil Esposito as the only players with three 50-goal seasons at age 30 or older.
Since the Capitals star debuted in 2005-06, no one else has more than two 50-goal seasons in that span.
Ovechkin also continued his move up the league’s all-time scoring charts. Goal No. 780 put him 21 shy of Gordie Howe’s 801 for second-most all time. (Gretzky has the record of 894.)
“How good is Ovechkin? It’s unbelievable,” DeBoer said. “Two tonight, and he could’ve had another two. He looks like he’s 25 years old out there. He’s so dangerous. And as soon as they got behind by one, he started really looking for those openings behind us. And he found it a couple of times.
“They’re a tough team to defend, obviously because of him.”
The only negative for the Capitals and their star: The result was a loss.
Shea Theodore scored 2:09 into overtime, keeping the Golden Knights’ slim playoff hopes alive. Vegas has 89 points and is two back of the Dallas Stars for the second wild card in the Western Conference, and it trails the Los Angeles Kings by three in the Pacific Division.
Information from ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press was used in this report.