WASHINGTON — Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin recorded his 30th goal of the season Sunday, in the process joining another elite group in NHL history.
In beating Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason, Ovechkin became just the third player all-time to score at least 30 goals in each of his first 11 NHL seasons.
Only Mike Gartner (15) and Wayne Gretzky (13) have recorded more 30-goal seasons to begin their NHL careers.
Gartner’s streak was snapped during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season when he was limited to 12 goals in 38 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 2012-13 NHL work stoppage could have ended Ovechkin’s streak of 30-goal seasons, but the eventual Hart Trophy winner that year finished with 32 goals in the 48-game campaign.
Gretzky’s streak of 30-goal seasons was snapped in 1992-93, when injuries limited The Great One to 16 goals in 45 games.
Ovechkin now leads the Eastern Conference with 30 goals this season, one behind Chicago’s Patrick Kane for the overall NHL lead. Ovechkin is chasing his sixth career Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL’s goal-scoring leader.
Ovechkin is also 20 goals shy of his seventh career 50-goal campaign (only Gretzky and Bossy- nine each — have more).