What more can we say about Alex Ovechkin?
The Great 8 and greatest goal scorer of his generation cemented his status as a hockey legend by scoring his 600th goal on Monday night (and his 599th too for those keeping track).
And he did it with the next great goal scorer, Patrik Laine, watching from the other side.
There were some other games on the night too, with another Golden Knights milestone and Matt Duchene crossing the 20-goal mark as just some of the many highlights from a busy Monday evening.
Here are four things we learned in the NHL.
The Great 8 gets even greater
It’s hard to fathom just how good Alex Ovechkin has been since breaking into the league after the 2004 lockout.
But these stats (from the NHL and Sportsnet Stats) help paint the picture.
• His 600 goals over that time lead all players, but the gap is even more startling. Second place is Sidney Crosby, with 405.
• Of those 600 goals, 225 have come on the power play and 100 have been game-winners.
• His 990 games played is the fourth fewest needed to score 600.
• At 32 years, 176 days, he’s the third-youngest player to score 600.
• He’s the sixth player to score 600 with one team and fourth European to reach the mark.
• He’s scored against 128 different goalies with Henrik Lundqvist (22) having given up the most.
• He’s scored 28 into empty nets.
The two goals gave Ovechkin 42 on the season and he still has a chance to reach 50 with 13 games left.
Some on Twitter were quick to point out that Ovechkin is still without a Stanley Cup, but no matter how you slice it, this is a massive milestone and forever cements him as one of the greatest goal-scorers ever to play the game.
The only question left is… can he pass Gretzky?
Patrik Laine keeps pace with Ovechkin
Ovechkin may be the best goal-scorer of his generation, but Laine has the potential to be that guy for his own one.
While the headlines from the Capitals-Jets game Monday are all about Ovechkin, Laine scored a goal too and quietly did something even Gretzky never did.
With 77 career goals, Laine is now one of the highest scoring teenagers in league history, behind only Dale Hawerchuk and Jimmy Carson (and one ahead of Gretzky). Laine turns 20 on April 19, so whatever he finishes the season with will be his total on the chart.
Winnipeg has 13 games left. Would it be crazy to think Laine could pass Hawerchuk’s mark of 85?
Monday’s goal also continued a blazing-hot streak that Laine has been on for over almost a month. He now has a point in 12 straight games with 16 goals and 22 points over that stretch.
And he now has 41 goals on the season, only one behind Ovechkin in the Art Ross race.
After the game, Laine had a great quote about watching Ovechkin, his idol, score his 600th goal.
Maybe one day a young hockey player inspired by Laine will do the same.
Patrik Laine with the quote of the night on Ovechkin’s 600th:
“I was pretty close watching it. I was in a good spot. Just behind him. I was there when he made history, so I can maybe watch that someday and show that I was there getting the minus on the ice.”
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) March 13, 2018
400 wins for Fleury
Ovechkin wasn’t the only player to hit a major milestone Monday.
Marc-Andre Fleury backstopped the Vegas Golden Knights to their 45th win and picked up his 400th career win in the process.
Fleury is the 13th goalie to achieve the mark and he can potentially move up to 11th on the all-time list with four more wins in the last 13 games of the season.
For his career, Fleury has a 400-225-69 record with two ties in 728 games.
The last goaltender to to go first overall, when Pittsburgh drafted him there in 2003, Fleury was a key cog in the Penguins’ dynasty with Crosby and Evgeni Malkin that won three Stanley Cups.
But the Penguins were put in a tough position at last summer’s expansion draft and they lost their franchise goalie to the Knights, who made him the face of their new team with overwhelming success.
The move didn’t seem to bother Fleury and his play hasn’t slipped a bit. While he’s missed time with injuries, Fleury still has a 25-9-3 record with Vegas and will play a major part in what that team hopes is a long playoff run.
NHL CAREER WINS!!!
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 13, 2018
Matt Duchene rare bright light for Senators
It’s been a long season in Ottawa and many point to the Duchene trade in early November as the beginning of the end for this team, but in reality Duchene has been a decent offensive player for the Sens and on Monday he scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season.
Duchene now has 17 goals and 35 points in 54 games with the Senators. He’s fourth in points among players still with the Senators and third in goals.
At the trade deadline the Senators began to tear things down by trading away Dion Phaneuf, Derick Brassard and almost Erik Karlsson. There likely will be more changes in the off-season but Duchene remains hopeful that things will turn around quick.
“All I can say is I am encouraged by what I see in here, and I think that this could be a very great spot for me to end up for a long time … if they want to have me,” Duchene said after the deadline.
Based on the numbers he’s putting up, it’s likely the Senators will gladly keep him.