The Washington Capitals picked up a huge win over the New York Islanders on Friday night to pull even in the Metropolitan Division race, and it was their captain, Alex Ovechkin, scoring the game-winning goal early in the third period to help lift them there.
The goal was a big one for Ovechkin personally because it was his 45th of the season, giving him 10 such seasons in his career.
Why is that a big deal?
Because no player in the history of the league has ever topped the 45-goal mark that many times in their career. He had been tied with Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy before scoring his latest goal on Friday and now sits alone atop the list.
It also keeps Ovechkin on a 57-goal pace and still has him in the driver’s seat for what would be a ninth goal-scoring crown (that, too, is the most in NHL history).
His 2018-19 season is an unprecedented performance for a player his age. In the history of the league only three players have ever topped the 50-goal mark in their age 33 season or later (Jaromir Jagr, Bobby Hull, and John Buyck), and none of them have ever scored more than 54 in one of those seasons.
Every year the argument for Ovechkin being the greatest goal scorer of all-time gets stronger and stronger because he just keeps doing it in ways that no one else has ever done it.