March 18, 2018

Washington Capitals Game 42 Recap: Caps dump Senators, Ovechkin scores 500th (and 501st)


 (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals beat the Ottawa Senators 7-1 on Sunday night to win their fourth game in a row and 13th out of 15. With the win, they move 18 points ahead of their closest competitor in the Metropolitan Division and five points clear for the best record in hockey ahead of the Dallas Stars.

It didn’t matter much.

What mattered was Alex Ovechkin, scoring his 25th and 26th goals of the season, to become the fifth fastest player — and 43rd overall — in league history to score 500 goals. He accomplishes the feat in his 801st game, behind only Wayne Gretzky (575 games), Mario Lemieux (605), Mike Bossy (647) and Brett Hull (693) as the fastest to reach the 500-goal plateau — all of whom played in a era much more conducive to goal scoring.

Ovechkin’s 500th was his first of the night, and put the Caps (32-7-3) up 5-1 late in the second period. On the power play, Jason Chimera saucered a pass from behind the goal line, through the slot, to the wide-open Ovechkin. The “Great 8″ calmly fired a snap shot past  Andrew Hammond, then was mobbed by his teammates at center ice as the bench emptied.

His 501st came in the third, the last of the Caps’ seven goals. He took a feed at center ice on the left wing from Nicklas Backstrom — as he’s done so many times in his career — raced past defenseman Erik Karlsson, juked Hammond, and flipped the puck over Hammond’s shoulder to set the Verizon Center crowd into another frenzy.

As for the rest of the game, it was another dominant display by the best team in the league right now.

Justin Williams started the scoring with is 13th of the season at 8:07 of the first. T.J. Oshie made it 2-0 less than three minutes later with his 15th of the year on the power play.

At 3:22 of the second period, Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman took advantage of a poor offensive-zone turn over, then beat Philipp Grubauer short-side on the rush to halve the deficit.

But the Caps responded. Just 2 1/2 minutes later, Zach Sill batted home a loose puck to make it 3-1 — his first goal of the season and as a Capital, then Dmitry Orlov fired a rocket past Hammond for a 4-1 advantage.

At that point, it looked like everyone on the team except Ovechkin would score in this one.

But fear not.

With 3:41 left in the second period, Ovechkin added his name to a very special place in the record books.

From that point, with the crowd abuzz, the teams appeared to be trying to play out the string. Tom Wilson scored in the third period when a shot he casually flipped from behind the goal line somehow managed to elude Hammond and slip past him for Wilson’s third of the campaign.

Then just over a minute later, Ovechkin put the icing on the cake, with his league-leading 26th goal of the season — in spectacular fashion.

The Caps have a few days off to enjoy the milestone, and the 18-point lead in the division. It’s a feat that they will all remember fondly being a part of after the conclusion of their careers. And everyone in attendance, or watching at home, will certainly remember it as well.

Ovechkin has been the source of so many memories and such pride for Caps fans over the years. Reaching 500 goals, in the manner that he did, ranks at the top of that list of great memories. The only thing that can really top this, now, is to finally break through and lead this team to the game’s Holy Grail.

In the middle of this record-breaking and historic season, nothing seems impossible anymore.


  • Nicklas Backstrom’s three assists extended his point streak to six games (Dec. 31-Jan. 10: 3g, 5a). It marked his fourth multi-assist game of the season and his 105th career multi-assist game.
  • Jason Chimera has tallied four points in his last five games (2g, 2a).
  • Nate Schmidt’s assist extended his point streak to a career-long four consecutive games.
  • The Capitals are the sixth team in NHL history to win 31 or more of their first 41 games in a season, joining Boston (1929-30: 36), Montreal (1944-45: 32), Chicago (2012-13: 32), San Jose (2008-09: 31) and Pittsburgh (2012-13: 31).

NEXT GAME: The Caps are off until Thursday, when they host the Vancouver Canucks at 7 p.m.

500. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP


  1. […] Before the game, the organization presented Ovechkin with a gold hockey stick to memorialize his 500th career goal, scored on Monday against Ottawa. […]

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