Alex Ovechkin's hat trick makes him first in NHL to score 40 goals this season

Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals has 16 goals in his last 10 games and 40 in total this season. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

The talk during the first half of the NHL season seemed to revolve around whether David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins or Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs would end up winning the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy.

“That’s cute,” Alex Ovechkin probably said to himself during that time.

With his Washington Capitals down 2-1 in the third period on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Kings, the 34-year-old scored three unanswered goals within a stretch of four-and-a-half minutes to propel his squad to a 4-2 victory.

The tying, go-ahead and empty-net markers cemented him as the first NHL player to score 40 goals this season. He is now two goals shy of becoming only the 8th individual in league history to score 700 regular-season career goals.

There is simply no stopping Alex Ovechkin right now. If the guy wants to score, it seems like there is very little that opposing defenders and goaltenders can do.

He’s scored 16 goals in his last 10 games, including three of his 27 career hat tricks.

Ovechkin began the comeback with 6:10 remaining in the third period when he took a feed from T.J. Oshie and swatted the puck past Kings netminder Jonathan Quick to knot the game up at two.

Just 70 seconds later, he rushed down the left wing before firing a shot on net. Quick couldn’t control the puck and Ovechkin followed up his initial effort by depositing the rebound between the pipes to put the Capitals up by one.

Ovechkin placed a bow on the game when he hit the unguarded cage from his own end with less than two minutes remaining at Capital One Arena.

This season marks the 11th of Ovechkin’s career in which he’s scored 40 goals. The jaw-dropping detail of the achievement is the fact that Washington still has 28 games left to play.

The Great 8 now has his sights set on the ninth Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy of his career. He currently holds a two-goal lead over Pastrnak and a three-goal advantage over Matthews.

If Ovechkin is able to score the most goals of any player this season, it would be the seventh time in the last eight seasons that he’s been the league’s top twine-tickler.

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