Four things we learned in the NHL Thursday

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, center, celebrates. (John Minchillo/AP)

Alex Ovechkin made Capitals’ history, Roberto Luongo and Jaromir Jagr made some history of their own, and Kris Russell must have very reliable shin pads.

Here are four things we learned in the NHL Thursday.

Ovechkin is No. 1

It’s been quite a week for Alexander Ovechkin.

Ovechkin reached the 50-goal mark for the sixth time in his career earlier this week, joining elite company with the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy, Marcel Dionne, Guy Lafleur and Mario Lemieux as the only players to score 50 goals six or more times.

Ovechkin moved past Peter Bondra on Thursday to become the Washington’s all-time leader in goals with 473.

The Great 8 would add No. 474 later in the Capitals’ 5-4 shootout win over the Montreal Canadiens. His record setting marker was an absolute laser beam that made Carey Price look like the backup on a Bantam ‘C’ squad.

Clinching is in vogue

Both the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues clinched playoff berths with wins Thursday.

The Blackhawks dropped the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 to secure a spot in the Western Conference playoff picture. With Patrick Kane hitting the ice earlier this week for the first time since suffering a fractured left clavicle in late February, the Chicago’s chances at a third Stanley Cup in six years are looking up.

The Blues rallied to a 4-1 win following an ugly first period incident that saw Brandon Bollig slam Barret Jackman face-first into the boards.

The New York Rangers clinched the Metropolitan Division title with their 3-2 win over Devan Dubnyk and the Minnesota Wild. The Rangers also welcomed Martin St. Louis back to the lineup after a 12-game absence while he recovered from an ankle sprain.

The Rangers are currently the oddsmakers’ choice as Stanley Cup favourites.

A pair of Panthers reached milestones

The Panthers’ 6-1 drubbing of the Carolina Hurricanes also saw goaltender Roberto Luongo get career win No. 400, which makes him just the 11th stopper to reach that milestone.

Luongo’s teammates presented him a new set of wheels for taking his place in NHL history.

The milestone reaching didn’t stop there.

Jaromir Jagr recorded a goal and an assist to tie Ron Francis for fourth place on the NHL’s career points list with 1,798. Considering Jagr is still an effective player at the age of 43, not to mention he spent three seasons on hiatus in the KHL, it’s a remarkable feat.

For what it’s worth, Francis recorded 1,798 points in his career despite only scoring 30 or more goals three times and eclipsing the 100-point mark three times as well.

Nobody blocks like Flames’ Russell

There is no easy explanation for how the Calgary Flames have defied expectations and beat the spreadsheet data to have one of the most surprising seasons in recent memory. It’s about the little things, and they are plenty.

The Flames’ goaltending tandem of Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo can thank defenceman Kris Russell for lending a hand in limiting the number of pucks they seen on a nightly basis.

Russell broke the NHL’s single-season shot block record on Thursday night in the Flames’ 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues.

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