Photo Credit: © Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Hits Oilers @ Flames: Rivalries and 600 goals

The Oilers and Flames will meet for the 237th time tonight in the regular season. The Flames have won 117 games and the Oilers have won 100. The Oilers have won the past seven meetings, their longest winning streak of the rivalry, and they will look for their eighth consecutive victory tonight. The Flames have the longest winning streak at nine games between October 16th, 2010 and January 1st, 2012.

We’ll get to more of the rivalry in a moment, but I have to acknowledge Alex Ovechkin for becoming only the 20th player in NHL history to score 600 goals. He scored twice last night in his 990th career game and needs eight more goals this season to reach 50 for the eighth time in his career. He’s remarkable.

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1. Ovechkin is also only the sixth player to score 600 goals with one franchise: Gordie Howe (786 in Detroit), Steve Yzerman (692, Detroit), Mario Lemieux (690, Pittsburgh), Joe Sakic (625, Quebec/Colorado) and Bobby Hull (602, Chicago). Wayne Gretzky has the most goals as an Oilers with 583, in 696 games, while Jarome Iginla has the most in Flames history with 525.

2. Oveckin is the third youngest player to score 600 goals. Gretzky was 27 years and 302 days, Mario Lemieux was 31 years and 122 days while Ovechkin is 32 years and 176 days. Since entering the NHL in 2005/2006, Ovechkin has 600 goals. Sidney Crosby is second with 405, while Rick Nash and Eric Staal are next with 379. Ovechkin has almost most 200 goals more than the next player and since 2005/2006, only 77 players have scored a total of 200 goals.

3. Of the active NHL players who have yet to play ten NHL seasons, John Tavares (nine) has the most goals at 266. He’ll be hard-pressed to reach 500 goals, nevermind 600. Jamie Benn is next with 241 goals in nine seasons.

4. Ovechkin’s pair of goals last night was the 119th multi-goal game of his career, which is 39 more than the next highest, Crosby, who has 80.

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5. Of the other 19 players with 600 career goals, only Iginla (625) and Jaromir Jagr (766) aren’t in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but neither is eligible yet. When they are, both will be in on their first ballot. Unless he is injured, I fully expect Oveckin to become only the eighth player with 700 goals and he has a realistic chance of scoring 800, which in today’s era is mind-blowing.

6. Connor McDavid has 79 goals in his first 195 games. Oveckhin had 119 in his first 195 games. McDavid is the most dynamic player in the NHL today, yet Ovechkin had 40 more goals at the same stage of his career. I’m not saying Ovechkin is more dynamic, not at all, but it illustrates just how great of a goal scorer he is.

7. Of players currently on the Oilers roster, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has the most goals as an Oiler with 113 in 445 games. He is 18th all-time in goals as an Oiler. Sean Monahan is the Flames leader with 137 goals in 388 games and sits 17th on their all-time list. Willie Plett is 16th with 150 goals in 452 games. Plett was more than just a fighter.

8. McDavid has 7-5-12 in the Oilers seven-game winning streak over the Flames. He has 15 points in ten career games versus Calgary. He has 18 goals in his past 19 games and if he scores a pair tomorrow he will join Oveckin, Evgeni Malkin and Patrik Laine as the only players to score 20 goals in any 20-game stretch over the past seven seasons. Malkin did it on February 23rd and Laine scored his 20th in his past 20 games last night. He actually has 16 goals in his past 12 games and is ripping it up for the Jets.

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9. Ryan Strome spoke about finding his niche as a third line centre on the Oilers, but he also doesn’t want to get comfortable in it.

“The number one center is pretty locked up on this team. I think that’s safe to say (smiles). The number two center, I mean Nugent Hopkins or Draisaitl, whoever it is, they’re world class players. For me playing on third line if anything, it’s not settling in, but instead pushing to be as good as those guys. That’s my mindset. You look at the great teams who have won lately, I remember Pittsburgh back in the day had Jordan Staal as a third line center and he was a good player, and he tried to be as good as Crosby and Malkin. You have to push yourself.  At practice I usually have a white jersey on and those guys have a blue jersey. I try to compete against them every day and that’s a challenge for me to get better.

“It may sound kind of cliché, but you always want to be better than those guys, you want to try to be as good as them and that’s only going to help the team. This year has been the most center I’ve played in the NHL. I like my game there. I think I’ve been growing. Obviously there’s things I need to work on.  I’m trying to work on faceoffs every day. It’s been nice and Todd has been supportive, and it’s been a lot of fun lately.”

10. In their seven-game winning streak over the Flames, the Oilers have outscored them 33-19. In the three games in Calgary they have scored seven, seven and five goals. This group likes playing in the Saddledome, maybe because Kris Russell is a “tough cowboy” (that’s a joke, people), or maybe they are simply more skilled. Whatever it is, the Oilers haven’t dominated one team like this in a long time.


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Source:  Jason Gregor, Verified Twitter Account, 03/13/2018 – 10:00 am MST