Alex Ovechkin became the NHL's first 50-goal scorer this season when he got his second of the game at 9:49 of the third period of the Washington Capitals' home game against the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday night.
Ovechkin got No. 49 when he took a pass from Alexander Semin after a giveaway and one-timed a blast from about 30 feet that beat goaltender Ondrej Pavelec cleanly at 16:04 of the middle period, tying the game 2-2. He reached the 50-goal mark for the fourth time in his five NHL seasons when he took a feed from Semin in the high slot and whipped a wrister past Pavelec, triggering a celebration at the sold-out Verizon Center.
"It's a pretty big number and especially when you miss a couple games," Ovechkin said, referring to the 10 games he didn't play this season due to either injury or suspension. "You always want to score 50 goals but sometimes you don't have luck, sometimes you just miss chances, but today I think I played pretty well."
Ovechkin also assisted on Nicklas Backstrom's first-period goal, and the three-point night moved him past Vancouver's Henrik Sedin for the scoring lead with 109 points. Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby is third with 104 points.
Backstrom got the second assist on Ovechkin's 50th goal, giving him 100 points for the season, then added the clinching goal in Washigton's 5-2 victory. He's the fourth Washington player to reach that mark.
"Before the game we talked about, let's go today, it's going to be our night," Ovechkin said. "We just have to make some points. He gets 100 points, it's a pretty good thing for him."
Crosby got his 49th of the season on Thursday night in Pittsburgh's 7-3 win over the New York Islanders. He has two games remaining -- as does Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos, who is third with 49 goals. Ovechkin and the Caps have one remaining, Sunday at home against Boston.
Ovechkin's goals were his 27th and 28th in 36 career meetings with the Thrashers, the most any player has scored against Atlanta in the franchise's 10-year history.
"I've said this many times this year -- the great ones, whether it's Sidney, whether it's Alex, whoever, they seem to come up in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded needing a home run, and they do it," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "And that's one of the reasons that makes them better than other people."
Material from team online media was used in this report.