Alexander Ovechkin Hits 50 Goals, Islanders Clinch Playoffs, Top Highlights

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 31, 2019

Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates with center Nicklas Backstrom (19) after scoring against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Alexander Ovechkin moved one step closer to tying an NHL record on Saturday night, as he deposited his 50th and 51st goals of the season for the Washington Capitals.

Ovechkin and the Capitals were a part of a big Saturday for teams in the Metropolitan Division, as they beat Presidents' Trophy winners the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the New York Islanders clinched a playoff berth.

The Islanders secured the 10th berth for the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs, as they handled the Buffalo Sabres to extend their winning streak to two games.

With the regular season set to conclude Saturday, the third-place positions in the Atlantic and Metropolitan Divisions need to be secured, as do all four wild-card berths.


Saturday's NHL Scores

Florida 4, Boston 1

Carolina 5, Philadelphia 2

Montreal 3, Winnipeg 1

Ottawa 4, Toronto 2

Washington 6, Tampa Bay 3

St. Louis 3, New Jersey 2 (Final/OT)

New York Islanders 5, Buffalo 1

Columbus 5, Nashville 2

San Jose 4, Vegas 3 (Final/OT)

Vancouver 3, Dallas 2 (Final/Shootout)

Anaheim 5, Edmonton 1

Los Angeles 3, Chicago 2 (Final/OT)


Ovechkin Eclipses 50-Goal Mark


Goals 50 and 51 for @ovi8. Just a machine. https://t.co/02kxBERUVF


Rakell Notches Hat Trick for Ducks


Get 'em with the natural @Enterprise hatty, @RickyRakell93. https://t.co/1yjJE3hDqy


Burns Breaks OT Scoring Record for Defensemen

NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL

Brent Burns scored his 14th career regular-season overtime goal to eclipse Scott Niedermayer (13) for the most by a defenseman in NHL history. #NHLStats #VGKvsSJS https://t.co/i4jA5mXGNn


Dunn's OT Winner for St. Louis


Talk about getting it done. It's all over in @EASPORTSNHL OT thanks to... @vince_dunn. https://t.co/5aP3ImK0fk


Kings Win with 12 Seconds Left in OT

LA Kings @LAKings

12 seconds left in OT? Not a problem for @dewyy8 🙌 #GoKingsGo | #HNILA https://t.co/Ie7FOxWHB5


Panarin Produces 3 Assists in 1st Period


Let's not forget that this is apple No. 3 on the period alone for him. https://t.co/Oc5NtNMMdK


Arvidsson's Short-Handed Strip and Score


The steal. The snipe. The shorty. Yeah, it's an #ArvyParty. https://t.co/US88NypLpr


Atkinson's 40th Goal


40. Goals. @CamAtkinson13's season just keeps getting better. https://t.co/idL8caCAva


Slick Passing from Canadiens


The @CanadiensMTL know how to move the puck. https://t.co/pUjQ2XOgJZ


Hertl Eludes Defenders, Scores from Close Range


👀 @TomasHertl48 https://t.co/Cq7IIrhUAy


Ovechkin Reaches 50 Goals for 8th Time in Career

With his pair of tallies against the Lightning, Ovechkin eclipsed the 50-goal mark for the eighth time in his career—and for the first time since the 2015-16 season.

According to NHL Public Relations, Ovechkin is one 50-goal season behind Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky in the record books: 

NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL

Alex Ovechkin of the @Capitals is the third player in NHL history to record eight or more 50-goal seasons – a list topped by Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky, who each had nine. https://t.co/jLZ0j0CRPO #NHLStats #WSHvsTBL https://t.co/PDdNMItztM

Ovechkin credited his teammates for picking him out for the pair of third-period goals that secured the win over the Lightning, per Mike Vogel of the team's official website. 

"Obviously you want to score as early as possible," Ovechkin said. "But I had pretty good chances before. It's going to eventually come, especially when the guys know that I have 49, and they try to find me all of the time. Thanks to them."

With three games left to play in the regular season, Ovechkin's put together his best scoring campaign since the 2009-10 season. 

Ovechkin has 88 points, which is good for sixth on his career single-season scoring chart, and the 2018-19 season will likely end as his fifth-most successful if he records five more points before the playoffs. 

The 33-year-old should have plenty of opportunities to eclipse the 90-point mark against either the Florida Panthers or Montreal Canadiens as the Capitals look to lock up first place in the Metropolitan Division before their season-ending clash with the Islanders.


Islanders Clinch Playoff Berth 

After missing out on the past two postseasons, the Islanders earned a trip back to the playoffs Saturday. 

Head coach Barry Trotz, who won the Stanley Cup with Washington in 2018, praised his team's hard work, per Cory Wright of the Isles' official website. 

"It's fulfilling," Trotz said. "The strength of this team has been its backbone, not its wishbone, wishing wins, this team had to go and work for wins. They have. It's good to know that we'll at least get an invite to the party."

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

But the Islanders aren't satisfied with just qualifying for the postseason, as home-ice advantage in the Metropolitan is still up for grabs, as captain Anders Lee noted, per Wright. 

"It's really gratifying," Lee said. "It's the first step of the accomplishments we want to achieve this year. First step is to get in. The next step is home ice and then all that other stuff."

The Islanders go into their final three games with a four-point lead on the Pittsburgh Penguins for second place in the Metropolitan, which would earn them home-ice advantage for at least one series.

If they can gain ground on the Capitals, who lead the division by three points, through wins over the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida, the Islanders could be playing for two rounds of home-ice advantage Saturday against Washington. 


Sunday's NHL Schedule

New York Rangers at Philadelphia (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) 

Minnesota at Arizona (5 p.m. ET) 

Carolina at Pittsburgh (5 p.m. ET) 

Columbus at Buffalo (6 p.m. ET) 

Boston at Detroit (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) 

Calgary at San Jose (8 p.m. ET, ESPN+)


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from NHL.com.