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Capitals' Alex Ovechkin ranks and reacts to his top 10 career goals

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ARLINGTON, Va. – Hitting the puck in the air in Pittsburgh.

The spin-o-rama against Montreal.

“The Goal” in Arizona.

They all told the same for Alex Ovechkin, who could pass Gordie Howe for second at any time, needing only one to catch Mr. Hockey and two to pass the big Red Wings going into Saturday’s game against the Maple Leafs.

Some of Ovechkin’s 800 goals, however, were clearly more special than others.

Timeless indeed.

Earlier this week, the NHL tweeted his list of Ovechkin’s top 10 goals🇧🇷

On Friday, I sat down with the captain of the Capitals at Washington headquarters and asked him what he remembered about each one.

I also had him put the goals in your Preferred order.

It’s worth noting that Ovechkin agreed with the NHL’s pick of their all-time goals, with one exception. The order? Well that was a different story.

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Ovechkin’s selection for No. 2 surprised me and it might surprise you too. Number 10 was not on the league roster. No. 1? Well, you can probably guess which goal he picked for first place.

I found it interesting that Ovechkin recalled details of each goal, such as the defender in play, the goalkeeper, the score, whether it was his first goal of the season or his 500th point. Still, re-sorting the list was not an easy exercise for him. He rewound the goals on my laptop a few times, and twice he changed his mind as I jotted down his responses.

But Ovechkin ended up deciding in the order he considers correct.

And here it is.

10. May 1, 2018

Opponent: Pittsburgh (road)

NHL Ranking: unclassified

Ovechkin’s opinion: “Of course this goal deserves to be there,” he said in disbelief. “It was a long innings (1 minute, 26 seconds) and a game winner. It was too late (67 seconds left). It has to be there.

9. February 4, 2010

Opponent: New York Rangers (road)

NHL Ranking: 8

Ovechkin’s opinion: “I don’t know why I had only one hand,” he said, laughing. “I make a move and you can see the guy grabbed me. Sometimes goals are just luck. It was probably luck.

Looks like a lot of your standout goals were against Rangers, right?

“Well, we’ve played them many times,” he retorted sarcastically, “so every now and then you’ll get some highlights.”

8. October 10, 2015

Opponent: New Jersey (home)

NHL Ranking: 6

Ovechkin’s opinion: “My first goal of the year (en route to the top 50 in the league),” he said. “I tried to make a move and put it on the top shelf. When you get close to the goalkeeper, they think the puck doesn’t go up, more towards the middle. That’s why they put the glove down and I shoot high.”

7. December 26, 2008

Opponent: Buffalo (house)

NHL Ranking: 7

Ovechkin’s opinion: “I make a move and I stick with it,” he said. “The goalkeeper thought I was going to make another move. He probably thought I was going to shoot high and went five holes.

6. December 20, 2014

Opponent: New Jersey (road)

NHL Ranking: 4

Ovechkin’s opinion: “I had top speed and I put the puck in my skates,” he said. “In the beginning, I didn’t see if the record would go in or not. But the referee was there and I saw that he pointed out that it was a goal. I was happy, but a little surprised. That was cool for sure.”

5. May 2, 2015

Opponent: New York Rangers (road)

NHL Ranking: 5

Ovechkin’s opinion: “Against the Rangers in the playoffs,” he said. “This was good.”

Looks like you tripped, got hooked, cut, or all three, right?

“Who cares?” he shot back with a smile. “I score the goal.”

4. April 24, 2009

Opponent: New York Rangers (home)

NHL Ranking: 3

Ovechkin’s opinion: 🇧🇷Ooh, this one is good too,” he began. “Archers again. You can see, too, (Henrik) Lundqvist thought it would be tall. Sometimes the goalkeeper is guessing. He probably thought I was going for the glove side and probably left the stick a little high. I made five holes.

3. February 18, 2009

Opponent: Montreal (home)

NHL Ranking: two

Ovechkin’s opinion: “That definitely I was lucky because I fell when I shot,” he said with a laugh. “But it was a good move on (Roman) Hamrlik.”

Later, you played with Roman. Did it ever come up?

“Yes, he was laughing about it.”

2. January 19, 2006

Opponent: Saint Louis (home)

NHL Ranking: 9

Ovechkin’s opinion: “That was right after ‘The Goal,’” he said. “Obviously I had full speed and made a good play. It was a totally different game than it is now. It was more open. Now it’s more compact.”

1. January 16, 2006

Goal: Arizona (road)

NHL Ranking: 1

Ovechkin’s opinion: “It’s funny, nobody thought this was going to be ‘O Gol,’” he said with a shrug. “We got back from the trip and I had to go to the ESPN studio and explain. I was thinking what they want to talk about This one goal? I didn’t know (then) that it would be so famous. No idea. But now, when I look back on it, it was a special moment.”

(Illustration: John Bradford / the athletic🇧🇷 Photos: Getty Images, G Fiume, Roy K Miller / Icon Sportswire, Gregory Shamus, John McDonnel / The Washington Post)