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Alex Ovechkin's 30th goal puts him in the greatest of company

Josh Elliott
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Alex Ovechkin (NHL via Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

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Alex Ovechkin's 30th goal puts him in the greatest of company

Josh Elliott
By:

Alex Ovechkin just set a record Sidney Crosby will never touch: he registered his 10th consecutive 30-goal season in the first 10 years of his NHL career, making him only the fifth player to accomplish such a feat.

There's no question Alex Ovechkin is one of the best players of his generation, but the 'Great Eight' just put an exclamation point on that with a historic milestone goal.

Ovechkin scored his 30th goal of the season Sunday against the St. Louis Blues - a tally that gives him at least 30 goals in each of his first 10 seasons in the league.

You can count on one hand the number of players to achieve that feat - and Sidney Crosby is not among them.

Only Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Mike Gartner and Mike Bossy have achieved that level of consistency, and they were all retired long before Ovechkin entered the league in 2005-06.

The truth is, no NHLer in the post-lockout era can touch Ovechkin's level of health and consistency. Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Jeff Skinner started their careers with 30-goal seasons, but all three have been knocked off the 30-a-year pace by injuries.

Not so Ovechkin, who has never missed more than 10 games in a season.

Ovechkin's had his highs and lows, but those highs and lows are simply in another league when compared to other NHLers.

Ovechkin scored 52 goals as a rookie, maxed out at 65 in 2007-08 and has hit the 50-goal mark in five of his 10 NHL seasons.

As for the lows, his lowest goal totals were 32-goal seasons in 2010-11 and 2012-13.

But put a big asterisk after that 2012-13 season, because he managed to hit the 30-goal mark despite playing a lockout-shortened 48-game schedule. That's not a down season. That's fantastic production despite a much smaller sample size.

Ovechkin throws his body around on the ice and relies on fast skates and a heavy shot, yet he's been remarkably healthy in his first decade in the league.

Here's the record-setting goal, the first of two for Ovechkin against the Blues on Sunday.

But 'Ovie' isn't done setting records. He scored two against St. Louis, and his 31 goals have him at the top of the league.

If he can stay healthy and productive for the remainder of the season, he may just take home his fifth Rocket Richard Trophy.

History shows he's got a pretty good shot at doing it.

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Alex Ovechkin's 30th goal puts him in the greatest of company