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NHL Stadium Series

Ovechkin scores 40th goal for Capitals

Sixth NHL player to reach number for ninth time

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

Ovechkin's 40th goal of season

TOR@WSH: Ovechkin nets 40th goal of season in front

Alex Ovechkin takes a feed in the slot and fires a shot over the glove of Frederik Andersen for his 40th goal of the season and a 2-1 lead

  • 00:53 •

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals scored his 40th goal of the season Saturday to become the sixth player to score that many in nine or more NHL seasons.

Ovechkin scored at 6:19 of the first period against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2018 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game; he has six goals in the past seven games and leads the NHL.

"Forty is nice, but 50 is better," Ovechkin said. "I still have time to do that. But you have to focus and you have to keep playing and use your chances and it will come."

 

[RELATED: Capitals top Maple Leafs in Stadium Series | Complete NHL Stadium Series coverage]

 

It's the seventh time in 13 NHL seasons that Ovechkin is the first player to score 40 goals, surpassing Bobby Hull and Phil Esposito (six) for the most in history.

Wayne Gretzky has the most 40-goal NHL seasons (12). Ovechkin joined Gretzky, Marcel Dionne and Mario Lemieux (10), and Mike Bossy and Mike Gartner (nine) as the only players with at least nine 40-goal seasons.

With 598 goals in 986 NHL games, Ovechkin, 32, needs two to become the 20th player to score 600. He would become the fourth player to do it in fewer than 1,000 games, joining Gretzky (718 games), Mario Lemieux (719) and Brett Hull (900), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Video: Alex Ovechkin talks after the game in Annapolis

"I don't think you can be surprised by anything [Ovechkin] does or surpasses or any type of way he scores goals because it feels like he's done it every way and he does it every way consistently," said Capitals forward T.J. Oshie, Ovechkin's teammate for three seasons. "So, for him to get 40 again, for how consistently he scores goals year in and year out and game in and game out, there's just no other guy that I've seen like him."

Washington plays its next three games in California, beginning against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NBCSWA, NHL.TV).

Ovechkin surpassed Calle Johansson's Capitals record of 983 games in a 5-1 loss at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday.

Ovechkin's NHL career-high is 65 goals (2007-08), and he has scored at least 50 seven times. The only seasons he didn't score 40 goals were 2010-11 (32), 2011-12 (38), 2012-13 (32) and 2016-17 (33).

Named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian in 2017, Ovechkin has won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL leading goal-scorer six times, the Hart Trophy (MVP) three times, and the Art Ross Trophy (scoring champion) once. The Calder Trophy winner as NHL rookie of the year in 2005-06, he has been selected to the First All-Star Team or Second All-Star Team in 10 of the past 12 seasons.

"My linemates, my teammates do a great job to find me over there," Ovechkin said. "I just have to do my job to put the puck in. It's working."

 

MOST 40-GOAL SEASONS

12 -- Wayne Gretzky (1979-91)

10 -- Marcel Dionne (1972-73, 1974-77, 1978-83, 1984-85)

10 -- Mario Lemieux (1984-90, 1991-93, 1995-97)

9 -- Alex Ovechkin (2005-10, 2013-16, 2017-18)

9 -- Mike Bossy (1977-86)

9 -- Mike Gartner (1980-81, 1983-85, 1986-88, 1989-93)

8 -- Phil Esposito (1968-75, 1978-79)

8 -- Brett Hull (1988-94, 1995-97)

8 -- Bobby Hull (1961-62, 1963-64, 1965-69, 1970-72)

8 -- Luc Robitaille (1986-94)

 

NHL.com correspondent Brian McNally contributed to this story.

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