As highlight reel goals go, Alex Ovechkin’s Thursday night may rank around 150th if you scrutinized his first three-plus years in the league. But his quick turnaround wrist shot from the right wing circle against Los Angeles will be memorable, as it places him in the company of Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Mike Bossy.
His first career goal against the Kings, it was Ovechkin’s 200th of his career in his 296th game. He joins Gretzky, Lemieux and Bossy as the only players in NHL history to score 200 goals before the end of their fourth season in the league. Those four and Brett Hull are the only players to score 200 goals in their first 300 games in the league.
The goal came in a losing effort, as Washington’s comeback fell short despite a furious 22 shots on goal in the third period. That will dampen Ovechkin’s memories of the milestone, but he still smiled while recalling the goal afterwards.
“Of course you want to win game, and I think we had chance to win,” he said. “But it’s cool to do something and hear about Gretzky and Lemieux. That’s not something you think of doing.”
The goal extended Ovechkin’s league lead to 37 on the season as he chases the 50-goal mark for the third time in his career and tries for back-to-back 60-goal seasons. He has 33 more goals than any other player since he entered the league and five more than anyone else in 2008-09 – just further evidence that his name belongs among such lofty company as Gretzky, Lemieux and Bossy.