Alex Ovechkin will have another feat to add to his already impressive resume as he is expected to play in his 1,000th career NHL game Sunday against the Penguins.
The Capitals left wing will become the first player in franchise history to play in 1,000 games and the first player selected out of the 2004 NHL Draft to reach that mark. The feat puts Ovechkin as the 54th player in NHL history to play 1,000 games with a single franchise.
Alex Ovechkin is expected to play his 1,000th career game as the Capitals renew their rivalry vs Penguins. Ovechkin is one of four players in NHL history to score at least 600 goals prior to his 1,000th career game, joining Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux & Brett Hull pic.twitter.com/IYoq3j5KIt— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 1, 2018
"That he has reached 1,000 games this quickly is an amazing accomplishment with the way he plays," Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said (via USA Today). "These are big men, and the league has gotten faster but it's also gotten much more fit, and that Alex has been able to span those generations and continue to play and be incredibly productive is really a historic feat."
More than that, the 32-year-old will become one of four players in NHL history to score at least 600 goals prior to his 1,000th career game, joining Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Brett Hull on the short list.
"There are a lot of players that have played 1,000 games but not as many players have scored 600 goals," Leonsis said. "If he takes care of himself — which he has been, he looks great — he can play a lot of years in the league."
Ovechkin, who still has three years left on his contract, leads the NHL with 45 goals this season. Ovechkin has scored 18.7 percent of the Capitals’ total goals and has taken 14.8 percent of the team’s total shot attempts, leading the NHL in both categories this season.
If the Capitals captain reaches the 50 goal mark this season, he will join Mike Bossy and Gretzky as the only players with eight 50-goal seasons.