Looking back at Alex Ovechkin’s incredible January

Alex Ovechkin
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NBC’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with Sunday’s matchup between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Let’s take a look at what the month of January was like for Alex Ovechkin after he was named the league’s top star of the month on Saturday.

Overall he scored 13 goals in the Capitals’ 10 games and went from 13th on the league’s all-time goal-scoring list all the way up to eighth, passing Hall of Famers Teemu Selanne, Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, and Mark Messier. He is also within striking distance this season of Phil Esposito for seventh place on the all-time list.

Along with the way, he reached another personal milestone by hitting the 30-goal mark for the 15th consecutive time to start his career, something that only Mike Gartner has done.

Not enough? He also overcame what seemed to be earlier this season an almost insurmountable gap in the goal-scoring race for this season to — as of Saturday afternoon — to tie David Pastrnak for the top spot with 37 goals.

All of that has put him on pace for 58 goals in 81 games this season, a mark that would be the second-best goal scoring season of his career. It is worth remembering that he is 34 years old and scoring at an unprecedented rate for that age.

He continued that run on Friday night with two goals in the Capitals’ 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. That gives him 11 goals over his past five games, a run that is the single best five-game goal scoring stretch of his career. Before this he had never scored more than nine goals in any single five-game stretch.

During that stretch he…

  • Put 28 shots on goal and scored 44 percent of the Capitals’ total games. They went 4-1-0 during that stretch.
  • Scored eight even-strength goals
  • Recorded two hat tricks. Only five other players in the league have at least two hat tricks all season.
  • Scored at least two goals in four of the games. Only seven other players in the league have more than four multi-goal games for the entire season.

He looks to continue that run on Sunday in the first of four head-to-head games against the Pittsburgh Penguins over the next two months. It will be series of games that could decide the winner of the Metropolitan Division.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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