Russian sniper Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals has already won the Rocket Richard Trophy six times for leading the NHL in scoring and he looks determined to capture his seventh in 2017/18. The 32-year-old, who was drafted first overall by the Capitals back in 2007, has gotten off to one of the quickest starts in NHL history with seven goals in his first two games. In fact he had seven of his team’s first 11 goals on the year. Ovechkin had hat tricks in his first two outings to tie a 100-year-old NHL record set by Reg Noble, Cy Denneny and Joe Malone back in 1917.
The winger opened the campaign in Ottawa with three goals in a 5-4 shootout triumph over the Senators and then added four more in a 6-1 home win against the Montreal Canadiens in their second outing two nights later. This is an excellent start to somebody who “slumped” to 33 goals last season. What makes Ovechkin’s feat so special is the fact that he scored hat tricks in two straight periods. As he netted three goals in the final frame against Ottawa and banged in three more in the first stanza against Montreal. Ovechkin has now scored a hat trick in one period on four occasions in his illustrious career.
Ovechkin has now racked up 19 hat tricks in his career so far, which ties a Washington record set by Peter Bondra. The seven-goal outburst also gave him 565 career regular-season goals which saw him leapfrog over Mats Sundin, Guy Lafluer Mike Modano and Joe Nieuwendyk into 22nd place on the NHL’s all-time goal scoring list. Ovechkin’s Russian linemate Evgeny Kuznetsov has certainly benefited from his winger’s scoring binge as he’s assisted on all of his first seven goals. Ovechkin reached the seven-goal mark after 11 games last season. He scored his first six this season in a span of just 12 minutes and 13 seconds of ice time.
It looks like this could be a high-scoring campaign for the entire league as there have been goals galore during the first week of 2017/18. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks each had 15 goals after their first two games while Washington had 11 and St. Louis., Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh each had nine under their belts. However, things have been leaky in the Pittsburgh end of the ice as the defending Stanley Cup champions gave up 15 goals in their first three outings. This included a humiliating 10-1 demolition at the hands of Chicago.
Ovechkin and Kuznetsov each had seven points in their first two games to lead the league while Patrick Kane and Ryan Hartman of the Blackhawks were right behind them with six each. In another unique feat, forward Nathan Walker of the Capitals became the first Australian to play and score in NHL history as the rookie netted a goal in Washington’s 6-1 win over Montreal in his first outing. The 23-year-old Walker was born in Cardiff, Wales, but moved to Australia when he was just two years old.