With the Washington Capitals visiting the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night, Alex Ovechkin will be visiting the city in which Maurice Richard starred back in the middle of the 20th century, building a resume of work that still makes him among the greatest goal scorers ever.
So why is that relevant?
Well, Ovechkin currently stands at 30th place on the all-time goal scoring list with 543 tallies. Richard, who played from 1943-60 and retired as the all-time leader in goals, sits in 29th at 544. The 31-year-old sniper could tie the legendary Canadien with a goal on Monday night, in the same city – albeit a different barn – that Richard played in.
Above all, this would another feather in the cap of the Russian winger, who in his early 30s with plenty of hockey left in him yet is already widely considered one of the greatest goal scorers ever. Richard, while just 29th on the all-time list, is on the short-list of those whom a case can be made for being the best goal-scorer ever. A place where Ovechkin can be – if he’s not already there.
Since Ovechkin entered the league in 2005, there have been 20 seasons of 50-plus goals. He accounts for seven of them, and is the only player to score 50 times in a season since 2012, something he’s done three times. Only Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk have multiple 50-goal seasons over that span, the last of which came in 2007-08, when Ovi’s countryman scored 52 goals for the Atlanta Thrashers.
There will be plenty of milestones to come for Ovechkin, barring injury or other unforeseen circumstances. He’ll likely reach 600 career goals next season and is a virtual lock for 700, a mark reached just seven times in NHL history.
But matching the Rocket will be the latest bar cleared in Ovechkin’s legacy.