The Russian star scored his 30th NHL hat-trick on New Year’s Eve
Russian star Alexander Ovechkin ended 2022 in the best way possible after scoring three goals during the Washington Capitals’ 9-2 demolition of the Montreal Canadiens on New Year’s Eve.
It was the 30th hat-trick of Ovechkin’s stunning career (and his second his less than three weeks), placing him in sixth position in the all-time leaderboard for NHL hat-tricks. He now stands just two behind Phil Esposito and three behind Brett Hull.
NHL icon Wayne Gretzky still leads the way, having scored three goals or more in a single game on an incredible 50 occasions, ten ahead of Mario Lemieux and eleven in front of Mike Bossy.
Ovechkin’s latest landmark comes just days after he moved ahead of Gordie Howe into second position in the all-time NHL goals list.
IT'S ANOTHER HAT TRICK FOR ALEX OVECHKIN 😱
His third goal looks awfullyyyyyy similar to another goal he scored vs. Montreal way back when 👀 pic.twitter.com/YSDqVeGl5X
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) December 31, 2022ADVERTISEMENT
His 806 career goals places him 88 behind the legendary Gretzky as the Russian star looks to enshrine himself in the sport’s history books before he opts to step away from the rink.
Ovechkin has now scored six times in his past four games and 26 this season as he moves past the half-way point to what would be his tenth career 50-goal season – one more than Gretzky was able to achieve.
Ovechkin's 30 hat tricks are the sixth-most in NHL history (Wayne Gretzky: 50; Mario Lemieux: 40; Mike Bossy: 39; Brett Hull: 33; Phil Esposito: 32).
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) January 1, 2023ADVERTISEMENT
“Great start by us,” Ovechkin said afterwards.
“I think we created as many chances as we can.”
And if those chances keep being created, experts have predicted that Ovechkin will break Gretzky’s goal record before long.
The Russian is currently scoring at a rate of 0.61 goals per game which, if he manages to keep up that remarkable pace, would see him eclipse Gretzky in 146 games – during the 2024-25 season.
However, if Ovechkin’s output dips by even 25% to 0.458 goals per game, it would take him 194 games to beat Gretzky.
At 37, Ovechkin is just one year younger than Gretzky when he decided to retire in the 1998-99 NHL season.
In the summer of 2021, Ovechkin signed a new five-year contract with the Capitals, which will see him remain with the team into the 2025-26 season after his 40th birthday.
January 01, 2023 at 11:34PM