The Chicago Blackhawks offered a chance for the greatest goal scorer in NHL history to make some history, and Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin obliged by netting a hat trick — including the 800th goal of his career — in a 7-3 Chicago loss at the United Center on Tuesday night.
Ovechkin entered the game at 797 career goals and needed just 24 seconds to tally No. 798:
Alex Ovechkin scored 24 seconds into the contest to inch closer to the 800-goal club. It also marked @ovi8's 136th career game-opening goal, surpassing Jaromir Jagr (135) for the most in NHL history.#NHLStats: https://t.co/PIaIXikn3D pic.twitter.com/LlA52phj0c— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 14, 2022
No. 799 followed about eight minutes later:
This man is unbelievable pic.twitter.com/pDqeMLZFB1— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 14, 2022
In his first game back from injury, Tyler Johnson provided the Blackhawks’ first tally with this goal at the 19:00 mark of the opening period:
Tyler Johnson scores in his first game back after missing 20 pic.twitter.com/ETMEckKgqQ— Four Feathers Podcast (@FourFeathersPod) December 14, 2022
After Trevor van Riemsdyk — “you all remember him” — restored Washington’s two-goal advantage early in the second period, Jonathan Toews scored on the power play to make it a 3-2 Blackhawks’ deficit:
jonathan toews goal for your viewing pleasure pic.twitter.com/zarG18ggd6— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) December 14, 2022
Nic Dowd scored with 2:42 left in the second, making it a 4-2 Washington advantage to start the third period.
Then history occurred as Ovechkin was left all alone in the crease to bury career goal No. 800:
Alex Ovechkin gets his 800th career goal pic.twitter.com/qbiCwNhxgK— CJ Fogler AKA Perc70 #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) December 14, 2022
Anthony Mantha and Dmitry Orlov added insurance goals for the Capitals, sandwiched around a garbage-time goal from Max Domi that’s not worth a second look.
- The debate’s over, right? Ovechkin has to be the best goal scorer in NHL history. Take his numbers, adjust them for the era, and his 800 tower over everyone else who’s near him — above or below — on that list.
- Enjoyed the respect shown to Ovechkin by the fans in the building, the stadium operations staff and also by Kane and Toews after the game:
- And as one final aside on Ovechkin:
That just evens the score for Peter Bondra scoring No. 500 while wearing a Hawks sweater.— Second City Hockey (@2ndCityHockey) December 14, 2022
- OK, Blackhawks things: what the FUCK was going on with the defense during that 800th goal? Jack Johnson coughs the puck up behind his own net. Jujhar Khaira skates to the crease to cover for a millisecond before coasting into an area where he’s contributing not one fucking thing. Connor Murphy loses his stick. Petr Mrazek loses his net. And, at the very end, Patrick Kane nearly breaks his neck in a final, desperate attempt at a backcheck. Just a colossal failure all around and one that’ll be replayed forever. What a shitshow.
- Or, as Toews put it after the game:
Toews on what went wrong defensively vs Caps:— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) December 14, 2022
“Nothing was good. Not really a straight answer there.”#Blackhawks
There are defensive breakdowns happening all over the place with this team lately. Yeah, I know, rebuild and all that. But a semblance of defensive structure would offer some level of encouragement that this trainwreck can be put back on the tracks in shorter order. Faith in that is fleeting at the moment.
- Speaking of that: there aren’t many guys on this current team who are worthy of consideration for long-term roles, but it also feels like none of the players who do have that distinction are producing much. Philipp Kurashev and Taylor Raddysh have seen plenty of top-six minutes but are far from flourishing. Filip Roos was just sent back to Rockford. Maybe Ian Mitchell finally gets going now that he appears to be getting a longer look following Roos’ demotion? Anything would be nice at this point.
- Only 55 games left!
- Alex Ovechkin (WSH) — Duh. 3 goals, 1 assist
- Anthony Mantha (WSH) — 1 goal, 1 assist
- Nicolas Aube-Kubel (WSH) — 2 assists, 69.70 CF%, 76.51 xGF%
The Blackhawks are back at the United Center on Thursday night to host the Vegas Golden Knights for a 7:30 p.m. start.