Capitals' Alex Ovechkin Ties Canadiens Great Maurice 'Rocket' Richard With 544th NHL Goal - uSports.org
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Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin Ties Canadiens Great Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard With 544th NHL Goal WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 10: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the - WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 10: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals shoots and scores his 500th career NHL goal in the second period against the Ottawa Senators at the Verizon Center on January 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) Full view

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 10: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals shoots and scores his 500th career NHL goal in the second period against the Ottawa Senators at the Verizon Center on January 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin Ties Canadiens Great Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard With 544th NHL Goal

To call Alex Ovechkin the Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard of today would not be an exaggeration, in a certain sense.

Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin Ties Canadiens Great Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard With 544th NHL Goal

In the Washington Capitals‘ 4-1 road win over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night, Ovechkin tied the NHL legend for 544 career goals against the team and in the city Richard played for.

The 31-year-old Russian matched the record with a rapid-fire wrist shot from the top of the circle on a power play that beat Canadiens goalie Carey Price clean at 16:36 of the third period.

“It’s nice to be in history, nice to be tied with a legend,” Ovechkin said. “Still have lots of years to go and I’m going to try to do my best.”

The goal also marked Ovechkin’s 999th NHL career point, setting him up to reach the big 1,000-point mark at Verizon Center when the Caps host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.

Ovechckin says he feels like his career has flown by.

“It means I’m getting older,” he said. “I remember my first year, my first game, it was like five minutes ago. Time moves forward and time moves quick. So you have to enjoy every second, every moment when you have the opportunity and try to do something special.”

The NHL created the Maurice Richard Trophy in 1998 to honor the league’s top goal-scorer. Ovechkin has won the award the most times (six, including in each of the past four seasons).

There are also some strikingly similar statistics between the Capitals star and ‘Rocket.’

Over the first 12 seasons of Ovechkin’s career, the No. 2 goal-scorer in the NHL is Colorado Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla with 366. Ovechkin’s 544 goals are 48.6 percent more than Iginla’s total.

Over the first 12 full seasons of Richard’s career, from 1943-44 to 1954-55, he scored 417 goals. Second over that span was late Detroit Red Wings right wing Gordie Howe– ‘Mr. Hockey,’ who died last June– at 271, who played 136 fewer games. Richard’s total over those 12 seasons was 53.9 percent higher than Howe’s.

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, who has had to face Ovechkin’s deadly shots every day in practice for the five years he has been a full-time NHL player, claims his teammate has only scored on him about 300 or 400 times in that span.

“That’s just a smart shot,” Holtby said. “A lot of guys can do that, but a lot of guys don’t understand why you do that. Don’t understand why that’s so hard as a goaltender to stop, the timing of it and realizing the situation of not having to blast it through.

“Just seeing what it is and scoring.”

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 10: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals shoots and scores his 500th career NHL goal in the second period against the Ottawa Senators at the Verizon Center on January 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Written by Pablo Mena
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