WASHINGTON, D.C. — With less than 7 minutes to play Tuesday night, the Washington Capitals trailed the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 and Alex Ovechkin had not recorded a shot go goal. That was when “The Great 8” took over in one of the most impressive displays in an already Hall of Fame worthy career not short on superlatives.
At the 13:50 mark of the 3rd period, Ovechkin beat goalie Jonathan Quick on the TJ Oshie helper to tie the game at 2-2 with his 38th goal of the season. Capital One Arena unleashed the fury in the stands as Ovi released a fury of his own, scoring on the feed from John Carlson during a Kings shift change 1:50 later at the 15:00 mark to give the Capitals their first lead of the night, 55 minutes in. The goal also gave him 39 for the season and moved him within 3 goals of 700 for his career.
The Russian Machine wasn’t done however, completing the natural hat trick on an empty netter with 1:46 to play in the game. The hat trick was the 27th of his career and his 3rd in the last 10 games. That 10-game stretch includes 16 Ovi goals in total or as John Carlson put it “sounds like a good year for the majority of the NHL.” The 34-year old has made a career of unbelievable feats seemed to almost effortlessly will his team to victory. Caps Head Coach Todd Reirden said it best after the game, “Tonight sums it all up…in less than five minutes he took over the game and we win the game because of it.” He added “that’s what superstars do.” Maybe superstars take over the game, but tonight was on a whole different level. A hat trick in less than five minutes…who does that?
Even in his 15th NHL season, Ovechkin never ceases to amaze his teammates, his coaches or his fans. When asked if he amazes himself he replied that he doesn’t think about it in season, “”Right after the year, yeah, I’m pretty sure my family and my friends are going to talk about it, but now, personally, I don’t try to concentrate about it. I’m just going out there and doing my job.” Doing his job means something different to the superstar from Moscow. Doing his job has gotten him to 698 career goals, 2 shy of the 700 mark that only 7 other players have reached in the history of the National Hockey League. It seems only fitting that he will be number 8 when that day comes.
It could come as early as Saturday when the Capitals next play, hosting the Philadelphia Flyers at 7pm.