Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin notched the sixth 50-goal season of his NHL career when he scored during the first period of a 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on March 31.
Alexander Ovechkin has a 50-goal season. Again.
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Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the 2014-15 NHL season during the first period of a 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on March 31, per The Washington Times' Zac Boyer. Ovechkin rifled a shot on the left faceoff circle off an assist from center Evgeny Kuznetsov and past Carolina netminder Cam Ward at the 11:12 mark of the period.
The Washington Post's Alex Prewitt describes the atmosphere inside the Verizon Center after Ovechkin scored goal No. 50:
"Chants of 'M-V-P, M-V-P' poured from Verizon Center's upper bowl after Ovechkin flung forward Evgeny Kuznetsov's pass over Ward's shoulder, and then evolved into one loud roar.
"On the bench, trainer Craig Leydig took the puck, wrapped white tape around the rim, wrote an inscription in blue permanent marker and stuffed it into his pocket, for presentation later. In front of Leydig, when the video screen honored Ovechkin's achievement, he waved into the camera, removed his glove and waved some more."
Not only did Ovechkin secure another 50-goal season, he also upped his career-goal total to 472, tying him with Peter Bondra for the Capitals franchise record, per Boyer. Bondra achieved the feat in 961 career games. Ovechkin did the same thing in just 755 games.
Washington has five regular-season games left on tap. Boyer says Ovechkin could surpass Bondra as early as April 2, when the Capitals visit the Montreal Canadiens. Bondra scored 50 goals just twice in his 14-year NHL career.
Ovechkin, who now has six 50-goal seasons, is in elite company. He is now tied with Mario Lemieux, Marcel Dionne and Guy Lafleur for that many in NHL history. Only Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy--who each had nine--have more, per The Washington Times.
Ovechkin was on pace to register another 50-goal season in 2012-13, but the lockout-shortened campaign thwarted that aspiration, per Boyer.
According to The Washington Times update, he first scored 50 goals in a season during his rookie year in 2005-06. Two seasons later, he scored an amazing 65 goals to go along with 112 points. Ovechkin now has two consecutive 50-goal seasons, as he had 51 in 2013-14.
Ovechkin told Boyer in the aftermath of the Carolina game it's an honor to be mentioned in the same breath as the NHL greats:
"Every year is getting harder and harder, but I said, it's a huge accomplishment being with the names up there. It's always nice. I will say, every year, you don't know what to expect from yourself and how you gonna play.
"Maybe luck not gonna be on your side or something gonna happen, but things are good. Everything's going well right now and team playing well."
First-year Capitals head coach Barry Trotz told Boyer that Ovechkin is in a league of his own:
"When you look around the league, there's very few 30-goal scorers. There's a couple mid-20s, and he's got 50. There's [Tampa Bay's Steven] Stamkos, and I think [the New York Rangers' Rick] Nash at 40. It's pretty special for him and for the group and part of history."
Trotz also marveled at Ovechkin's achievement considering how good NHL goaltenders are, per NHL.com:
"I hadn't been around anybody who's ever scored 50 goals in this league, especially the way it's so hard to score goals in this league. You know it's a part of history, a guy who scores 50 in this league right now the way goal scoring is. Teams check. The goaltenders are so good in the National Hockey League."
Ovechkin also recorded another milestone in the third period when his assist to right wing Joel Ward boosted his career total to 418, moving him past Michal Pivonka for second all-time in franchise history.
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