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Rocky Bonanno - Alexander Ovechkin's 60 goals

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Rocky Bonanno - Alexander Ovechkin's 60 goals

  1. 1. 2008 Stanley Cup Final17 In the end, No. 65 wasn’t that much different than No. 33 or even No. 1. Other than the victimized goaltender, there was nothing especially distinguishing about each ani- mated goal celebration in the record-breaking season enjoyed by Alexander Ovechkin, the young megastar who has revived hockey in the U.S. capital with his infectious enthusiasm for scoring goals. Since his debut, the energetic left wing has cel- ebrated each tally as if it was his first in the League, though he’s been here for three seasons. “I like making nice plays and I just don't keep my emotions,” Ovechkin said. “I just give my emotions.” Those emotions are part of Ovechkin’s appeal, his package, his game. An Ovechkin goal without the celebration would be like ordering a steak that has no sizzle. Ovechkin with his arms and stick raised is a sight hockey fans have grown accustomed to seeing. In 2007-08, he was downright automatic, scoring 65 goals, a mark that had not been reached in the NHL since 1995-96 when Mario Lemieux (69 goals) and Jaromir Jagr (65) were teammates in Pitts- burgh, and Ovechkin was a 10-year-old in Moscow. Shortly after Ovechkin scored his 50th goal, a reporter at- tempted to draw a comparison between him and fellow Russ- ian Pavel Bure, a former five-time 50-goal scorer who electri- fied crowds in the ’90s. “I saw video. He was one of the greatest Russian players in history,” Ovechkin said, not taking the reporters bait. “…I just want to be myself. You know, I think everybody have own style. Bure is Bure. Me is me.” Then came the inevitable questions about 60 goals — after all, there were 13 games left — though Ovechkin never lost sight of the bigger picture, the ultimate goal. “You know, it’s all in my mind right now to help team win be- cause we have situation we can push forward and we can go forward. “If I score goal and we win, I will be happy. But, you know, right now it’s all about win. You know, it’s all about winning. If I score 60 and we go to playoffs, I will be very happy.” Perhaps the game in which Ovechkin celebrated the most, he didn’t even score. On April 5, Washington clinched the Southeast Division title and its first playoff berth since 2002- 03, meaning Ovechkin was about to get his first taste of post- season hockey. The Capitals went from 6-14-1 and last overall in the League on Nov. 23 to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals with a 43-31-8 record. Alexander the Great: The Amazing Season of a 60-Goal Scorer By Rocky Bonanno NHL.com Staff Writer
  2. 2. 2008 Stanley Cup Final18 October 6, 2007 CAROLINA 0 AT WASHINGTON 2 For the third straight home-opening game of his career, Ovechkin scored a goal, beating goal- tender John Grahame at 14:24 of the first period for a 1-0 lead. It was his 200th point (99-101) in his 165th career game, becoming the quickest player in franchise history to reach the mark. October 12, 2007 WASHINGTON 1 AT NY RANGERS 3 Ovechkin scored his 100th goal in only 167 career games. His power-play goal at 7:46 of the first pe- riod briefly tied the score at 1-1, and he broke a tie with Jagr for 31st place on the Capitals’ career points list (202). October 13, 2007 WASHINGTON 3 AT BUFFALO 7 Ovechkin scored a third-period power-play goal to cut the Caps’ deficit to 5-3. October 18, 2007 NY ISLANDERS 5 AT WASHINGTON 2 Ovechkin scored a goal for the third straight game and extended his season-opening point streak to six games (4-2-6). October 24, 2007 TAMPA BAY 3 AT WASHINGTON 5 Ovechkin scored an empty-net goal with four sec- onds remaining and added two assists. It was the third empty-net goal of his career, but the first scored while helping protect a one-goal lead. “The key point is that when your top player can play that well defensively and preserve a lead and you’re playing him every second shift in the last 10 min- utes and he’s out there six-on-five doing those things, that’s what turns organizations around,” then-coach Glen Hanlon told washingtoncapitals.com. “When [Tampa Bay coach John] Tortorella got Vinny [Lecavalier] to play both ends of the rink and in Detroit when Stevie [Yzerman] played both ends of the rink like he can do, that turned their organ- izations around.” October 26, 2007 VANCOUVER 3 AT WASHINGTON 2 Ovechkin scored a power-play goal with 1:36 left in the third period. October 29, 2007 WASHINGTON 7 AT TORONTO 1 Ovechkin scored an even-strength goal in the first period and power-play goal in the second period. November 2, 2007 PHILADELPHIA 3 AT WASHINGTON 2 Ovechkin scored for the eighth consecutive game against the Flyers, netting a third-period power- play goal. November 8, 2007 WASHINGTON 4 AT OTTAWA 1 Ovechkin scored a third-period goal to give the Caps a three-goal lead. November 10, 2007 TAMPA BAY 5 AT WASHINGTON 2 Ovechkin’s 50th career goal at the Verizon Center tied the score at 1-1 with 1:40 left in the second period. November 15, 2007 WASHINGTON 1 AT FLORIDA 2 Ovechkin scored on a rebound at 6:55 of the sec- ond period. November 16, 2007 WASHINGTON 2 AT TAMPA BAY 5 Ovechkin gave the Caps a 2-1 lead when he scored from the top of the right circle at 13:30 of the first period, extending his goal-scoring streak to four games. November 21, 2007 ATLANTA 5 AT WASHINGTON 1 Ovechkin gave the Caps a 1-0 lead with a power- play goal 2:27 into the second period. November 24, 2007 CAROLINA 2 AT WASHINGTON 5 Ovechkin scored for the first time under new coach Bruce Boudreau, who replaced Hanlon two days earlier. “When you win, you feel more confi- dent,” Ovechkin said. November 26, 2007 BUFFALO 3 AT WASHINGTON 1 Ovechkin tied the score 49 seconds into the sec- ond period to extend his point streak to nine games (8-3-11), his longest since a career-best 13-game streak last season. November 30, 2007 WASHINGTON 3 AT CAROLINA 4 Ovechkin scored two goals and added an assist. He now has 15 goals in 20 career games against the Hurricanes. December 1, 2007 WASHINGTON 2 AT FLORIDA 1 Ovechkin scored the game-winning goal at 4:38 of the third period. While standing parallel to the Florida goal, he shot the puck toward goaltender Tomas Vokoun and it deflected into the net. “It was a lucky goal,” Ovechkin said. “I was trying to shoot the puck to create a rebound for (Viktor) Kozlov, but it was a lucky rebound and went into the net.” December 8, 2007 ATLANTA 3 AT WASHINGTON 6 Ovechkin scored the game-winning goal at 14:06 of the second period, giving the Caps a 4-1 lead. His goal against Kari Lehtonen was the 12th of his career, the most against any goaltender. December 12, 2007 NY RANGERS 4 AT WASHINGTON 5, OT Ovechkin gave the Caps a 3-2 lead at 4:36 of the third period. December 14, 2007 BUFFALO 5 AT WASHINGTON 3 Ovechkin opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 13:12 of the first period, giving him points in 16 of his last 17 games. December 17, 2007 WASHINGTON 3 AT DETROIT 4, SO Ovechkin netted a power-play goal at 9:58 of the first period. Dominik Hasek became the 45th goal- tender to surrender a goal to Ovechkin, and Joe Louis Arena was the 20th arena in which he scored. December 22, 2007 WASHINGTON 2 AT NY ISLANDERS 3, OT Ovechkin tied the score at 2-2 with 55 seconds remaining in the third period. “It could have been deflating when they got their second goal,” Boudreau said. “But we never quit, and Ovie came through, even though he was bottled up all night, and only wound up with two shots on net.” December 27, 2007 WASHINGTON 3 AT PITTSBURGH 4, OT Ovechkin gave the Caps a 3-2 lead late in the sec- ond period before missing almost all of the third to receive stitches to close a cut on his leg. A LOOK BACK AT GOALS 1-65 01 02 03 04 05 06 07& 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15& 16 17 18& 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
  3. 3. 2008 Stanley Cup Final19 December 29, 2007 WASHINGTON 8 AT OTTAWA 6 Ovechkin recorded his third career hat trick and first four-goal game, also adding an assist for his first career five-point game. He scored once in the first period, once in the second and twice in the third, all against goaltender Martin Gerber. It was Ovechkin’s first hat trick since Dec. 15, 2006. January 5, 2008 WASHINGTON 5 AT MONTREAL 4, OT Ovechkin’s second goal gave the Caps a 4-3 lead at 6:38 of the third period. His first was a power- play tally at 8:31 of the second. “He gets the puck off quick,” said Canadiens goaltender Carey Price. “I don’t think there was much I could do on the first one.” The Bell Centre was the 21st different arena in which Ovechkin scored. January 13, 2008 PHILADELPHIA 6 AT WASHINGTON 4 Ovechkin scored for the first time since signing a landmark 13-year, $124 million contract three days earlier, keeping him in Washington’s services through the 2020-21 season. “Alex is the cornerstone of our franchise, and I fully believe that he will help us achieve our ultimate goal of being a Stanley Cup team,” said owner Ted Leonsis. “Like all Caps fans, I look forward to com- ing to Verizon Center or turning on the TV each night and seeing what he will do next, and I am sure we will continue to be amazed at what we see for years to come.” January 15, 2008 OTTAWA 2 AT WASHINGTON 4 Ovechkin scored the tie-breaking goal on the power play at 9:11 of the third period, burying the rebound of a shot by Brooks Laich. It was his fifth game-winning goal of the season and 18th of his career. “They’re leading our conference, so this is very im- portant to win,” Ovechkin said. “But for us, it does- n’t matter who we play. We have to win. Two points is two points, whether it’s against Ottawa or anyone. We want to go up (in the standings).” January 17, 2008 EDMONTON 4 AT WASHINGTON 5, SO Ovechkin, Semin and Mike Green all scored in the third straight game. Ovechkin’s goal at 1:39 of the second period tied the score and erased a 2-0 deficit for the Caps. January 19, 2008 FLORIDA 3 AT WASHINGTON 5 Ovechkin scored a goal and an assist, helping the Caps claim third place in the Southeast Division. “It’s just the beginning for us. We deserve to be in this spot,” Ovechkin said. “We had a terrible start of the season; we lose every game.” After going 6-14-1 under Glen Hanlon, Washing- ton improved to 21-21-4 under the direction of Boudreau. January 21, 2008 WASHINGTON6ATPITTSBURGH5,SO Ovechkin scored twice in the second period — once on the power play — and added a tally in the shootout. Also scoring twice was countryman Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins, chosen second- overall after Ovechkin in the 2004 Entry Draft. “I thought it was a great show of two young su- perstars trying to be king of the hill,” Boudreau said. “I just play for the team. It doesn’t matter if you’re Russian or Canadian,” Ovechkin said. “It’s a game, and I think nobody has friends on the ice.” January 23, 2008 WASHINGTON 2 AT TORONTO 3 Ovechkin extended his season-high goal streak to six games, during which he scored seven goals. Ovechkin tied the score 1-1 at 2:27 of the second period when he beat goaltender Vesa Toskala with a wrist shot. January 27, 2008 56TH NHL ALL-STAR GAME In his second All-Star Game appearance, Ovechkin scored twice in the first period to in- crease his career total to three goals in the mid- season classic. He beat goaltender Chris Osgood both times in the Eastern Conference’s 8-7 victory at Philips Arena in Atlanta, and became the first Washington Capital to score twice in an All-Star Game. January 31, 2008 MONTREAL 4 AT WASHINGTON 5, OT Ovechkin recorded his second four-goal, five-point game of the season. He scored the winning goal with 1:26 left in overtime against goaltender Cristobal Huet, who in less than a month would become his teammate. Ovechkin completed his fourth career hat trick — and first at Verizon Center — with 7:30 remaining in regulation. The outburst gave Ovechkin 70 points (43-27), and he took the NHL scoring lead for the first time in his career. In addition, he became the first NHLer since Jaromir Jagr in 1996-97 to score 40 or more goals before the end of January. Ovechkin joined Peter Bondra as the only Capitals with three consecutive 40-goal seasons. February 5, 2008 WASHINGTON 4 AT COLUMBUS 3, OT Ovechkin’s second goal was the winner in over- time, completing a comeback from a two-goal deficit. “It doesn’t matter what the score is — 2-0, 4-0 — you’ve just got to play,” Ovechkin said. “We just have to believe in ourselves. We know we can win the game. It doesn’t matter what happens. This was a big game for the young guys. We’re just growing up.” “I thought he struggled more than I’ve seen him in the first period,” Boudreau said. “He looked tired. I asked him if he was OK and he said he was. He started coming on, getting stronger as the game went on. His shot is just so deadly, that wrist shot of his. I’ve been here 32 games now and it amazes me every day.” “I thought we did a good job on him and he still got two goals,” Columbus defenseman Rostislav Klesla said. “He’s just a special player, having a great year.” February 6, 2008 WASHINGTON 4 AT PHILADELPHIA 3 Ovechkin scored the game-winner at 7:45 of the third period for a 4-1 lead. The victory gave the Capitals a share of first place in the Southeast Division. Ovechkin now has 12 goals and nine as- sists in 12 career games against Philadelphia. February 10, 2008 NY RANGERS 2 AT WASHINGTON 3, OT Ovechkin scored on the power play only 2:28 into the game and added two assists, and the Capitals moved into first place in the Southeast Division. He also regained sole possession of the NHL scor- ing lead with 76 points (47-29). Ovechkin extended his League-leading total to 17 power-play goals, giving him 23 goals and 36 points in 22 games. February 13, 2008 WASHINGTON 2 AT ATLANTA 3, SO Ovechkin’s goal with 1:21 remaining in the third period forced overtime. A LOOK BACK AT GOALS 1-65 Continued 27,28,29,&30 31& 32 37& 38 40,41,42,&43 33 34 35 36 39 44& 45 46 47 48
  4. 4. 2008 Stanley Cup Final20 March 1, 2008 TORONTO 3 AT WASHINGTON 2 Ovechkin snapped a career-long seven-game goal drought by scoring late in the first period for a 1-0 lead. March 3, 2008 BOSTON 2 AT WASHINGTON 10 Ovechkin scored his fifth career hat trick to reach 50 goals for the second time in his career and matched his rookie high from 2005-06. Ovechkin scored all three goals in the first period and added two assists for his third five-point game of the sea- son. “Today, everything just went to the net,” Ovechkin said. “You are going to score [in] lots of games, and some you [won’t]. I always tell myself not to think about goals and to just play how I can.” Ovechkin became the third player in franchise his- tory, along with Dennis Maruk and Peter Bondra, to record two 50-goal seasons. He also joined Bure, Dany Heatley and Jagr as the only players to record two 50-goal campaigns in the decade. Finally, Ovechkin became the second player in NHL history to score his 50th goal of a season as part of a hat trick, matching Wayne Gretzky. March 5, 2008 WASHINGTON 3 AT BUFFALO 1 Ovechkin scored his career-high 53rd goal and recorded his 10th multi-goal game of the season. “Mental mistakes have cost us goals,” Sabres for- ward Derek Roy said. “We gave up four or five breakaways. ... We preached before the game to look over our shoulder and see where Ovechkin is. And we didn’t do so.” Ovechkin’s 54 goals moved him into second on the Capitals’ single-season list, one more than Bob Carpenter (1984-85). March 12, 2008 CALGARY 2 AT WASHINGTON 3 Ovechkin scored his 10th game-winning goal, beating goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff on the power play with 1:54 remaining in the third period. The game was broadcast on two channels in the Washington area. One carried the regular game broadcast, and the other featured a split screen with the game coverage on one side and a dedi- cated camera continuously following Ovechkin on the other, called OvechKam. “I don’t think about OvechKam,” Ovechkin said. “For me it doesn’t matter, OvechKam or different camera.” Kiprusoff became the 52nd goaltender to surrender a goal to Ovechkin during the season, and Calgary the 27th team against which he has scored. March 14, 2008 ATLANTA 1 AT WASHINGTON 4 Ovechkin scored his 155th career goal, giving him the third-highest total ever by a player in his first three seasons in the NHL, passing Bure (154) for third place. Only Hall of Famers Gretzky (198) and Mike Bossy (173) were better. “Yeah, it’s an interesting time right now,” Ovechkin said. “Everybody is concentrating about the game and we still have 10 games left.” March 18, 2008 WASHINGTON 4 AT NASHVILLE 2 Ovechkin’s goal and two assists gave him his sec- ond career 100-point season. He reached the mark with an assist on Alexander Semin’s first-pe- riod power-play goal and finished the game with 102 points (58-44). Ovechkin who scored 106 points as a rookie in 2005-06, became the first player in franchise history to record two 100-point seasons. Ovechkin’s goal was an empty-netter and the 300th point of his career in only 237 games. He became the fastest NHLer to reach the mark since Peter Forsberg got there in 229 games on Dec. 23, 1997. “The most important thing for me is not beating some records,” Ovechkin said. “Right now it is all about winning games and all about getting two points.” March 21, 2008 WASHINGTON 5 AT ATLANTA 3 Ovechkin became the NHL’s first 60-goal scorer in 12 years. He beat Lehtonen in the first period and later brought the Capitals within 3-2 at 11:30 of the third period with his 60th. “It’s always fun to score goals,” Ovechkin said, “especially when it’s important goals. It was a very important goal for my team right now. It doesn’t matter if I don’t score and somebody [else] score. I’ll be happy, too. But 60 is 60.” Ovechkin’s 60th goal tied Washington’s single- season team record set by Dennis Maruk in 1981- 82. Also, the Capitals became the fifth franchise in League history with two 60-goal scorers, joining Edmonton, Los Angeles, Montreal, and Pitts- burgh. Ovechkin also passed Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk for the most third-period goals with 23. March 25, 2008 WASHINGTON 3 AT CAROLINA 2, SO Ovechkin scored his single-season franchise- record 61st goal, giving the Capitals a 2-1 lead at 9:41 of the second period. “It’s fun to score goals, especially when you break some records,” Ovechkin said. “Records are records, but it’s still about winning, it’s still about team and it was a big victory for us, a big goal for my team.” March 29, 2008 WASHINGTON 3 AT FLORIDA 0 Ovechkin scored his League-leading 62nd goal at 11:32 of the third period when he beat three Florida players to a loose puck and fired a wrist shot from close range. His 14 goals in the month of March (14 games) marked the best single- month goal total of his young career. April 1, 2008 CAROLINA 1 AT WASHINGTON 4 Ovechkin’s goal late in the third period helped tie Carolina for the lead in the Southeast Division with two games remaining in the season. “All the guys played well today,” Ovechkin said. “We’re playing for something right now.” Most of the 18,277 Capitals fans in attendance at Verizon Center conducted a red-out, wearing red clothing to match their heroes on the ice. They gave the players a standing ovation with a 2-0 lead after the first period. April 3, 2008 TAMPA BAY 1 AT WASHINGTON 4 Ovechkin broke Luc Robitaille’s single-season NHL record for most goals by a left wing with his first tally, and added another for good measure. The 18,277 fans in attendance repeatedly chanted “M-V-P,” voicing their votes for Ovechkin to be awarded the Hart Trophy. The victory moved the Capitals into a playoff spot, taking the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference with one game remaining. Ovechkin’s first goal, at 12:01 of the first period with assists from Kozlov and Green, tied the score at 1-1. He then netted the game-winner, his 11th of the season, on the power play at 7:50 of the third period. With 22 power-play goals, Ovechkin tied Bondra’s single-season team record. “He really turns it up when the game’s on the line,” Washington center Brooks Laich said. 50,51,&52 49 53& 54 55& 56 57 58 59& 60 61 62 63 64& 65 A LOOK BACK AT GOALS 1-65 Continued

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