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NHL scores 2016: Reflecting upon Alex Ovechkin and his 500th career goal

We are all witness.

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

It is not a bold statement to say that Alex Ovechkin is the greatest NHL player in the post-2005 lockout era. We've written extensively as to what defines Ovechkin's greatness when he broke Sergei Fedorov's Russian record back in November. This isn't news. To not put Ovechkin at the top of the league's best does a disservice to his career thus far and his influence on the world of hockey.

Scoring 500 goals is an impressive feat in its own right, but to do it in a year where scoring is at a low 2.64 goals per game -- the lowest its been since the 2001-2002 season -- is something else. Ovechkin, even without goals No. 500 and No. 501 -- which he scored on Sunday -- leads the NHL in goals since his start with the Capitals, coinciding nicely with the end of the 2005 lockout.

The number of Stanley Cups one possesses does not make the player. If so, Dan Carcillo should have been voted into the Hall of Fame yesterday. Stanley Cups are hard to win and are often not won because of one player alone. Ovechkin shouldn't be defined by the Washington Capitals' inability to make it past the second round.

However, in a few months' time, the Verizon Center might look exactly the same as it did when Ovechkin netted his 500th goal. The Capitals roster is the deepest its ever been, and with Ovechkin leading the offense and potential Vezina Trophy winning Braden Holtby backstopping between the pipes, there's a real chance this might be Washington's year.

Let the comparisons from one great to another wait until another day. For right now, let's celebrate Ovechkin's milestone like the historic achievement it deserves.


Buffalo Sabres 4, Winnipeg Jets 2

Washington Capitals 7, Ottawa Senators 1

Chicago Blackhawks 6, Colorado Avalanche 3

New Jersey Devils 2, Minnesota Wild 1

Detroit Red Wings 2, Anaheim Ducks 1

Florida Panthers 2, Edmonton Oilers 1

3 things we learned

1. Evander Kane wins "Tracksuit Night" in Winnipeg

There's no love lost between Winnipeg Jets fans and Evander Kane, it seems. Making his return to the MTS Centre for the first time since his trade to the Sabres last season, Kane shrugged off the taunting "Tracksuit Night" and potted an assist against his former club in Buffalo's 4-2 victory over Winnipeg.

2. If Zach Parise scored for Minnesota but no one on TV saw it, did it count?

In a bizarre situation, the national NBCSN feed for the Wild and the Devils died at the worst possible time for television viewers. Instead of seeing Parise's tying goal for the Wild and Jon Merrill's answering goal for New Jersey, fans were treated to action from the Red Wings and Ducks game, as technical difficulties made the channel cut away. The Parise goal was quite the important one, too, as the alternate captain now has a goal against every team in the league, with this one coming against his former club in the Devils.

2. Marian Hossa broke his career high 14-game goalless drought in the Blackhawks 6-3 rout of the Avalanche

Hossa breaking his goal drought on the same day as Ovechkin's 500th brought about quite the eye-opening statistic, too.

Impact Moment

The Florida Panthers won their 12th game in a row, and it was almost not even worth it. Aaron Ekblad took a hard hit to the head that knocked the helmet off the defenseman and took him out of the game for awhile. No penalty was assessed on the hit either from Matt Hendricks.

Ekblad did return near the end of the game, however, so crisis averted!

Stat of the Night

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