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Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin scored the 900th point of his career in a win over Calgary and has a goal in each of the four games he has played this season.Alex Brandon/The Associated Press

Nobody does it better than Alex Ovechkin, this lost art of NHL goal scoring, and Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby thinks he knows why.

"The main thing is just the raw power you don't see in other players," explains Holtby, who gets to practise against Ovechkin virtually every day. "You get a stick on him and it's like he doesn't even know the stick is there, he just goes right through it.

"The biggest thing is the unpredictability of his shot. He can get it off from anywhere – around his body, in his feet, when the puck's rolling. A lot of the time, the puck's dipping and diving and going places where goalies don't expect it to go – and getting there so fast, you don't have time to react to it. You watch the majority of his goals, they might be from the same spot on the ice where he's shooting, but the puck isn't going in the same place every time. It's spread out around the net a lot.

"It's like Greg Maddux mixing his speeds all around the strike zone, but with a 99-mile-per-hour velocity, that kind of idea."

One of the secrets to Ovechkin's success is his ability to muscle shots through to the net, no mean feat in an era fixated on shot-blocking. He isn't afraid to shoot from anywhere and understands that sometimes the first shot doesn't go in but it creates chaos on the rebound. It's how he scored the 479th goal of his career in Tuesday night's 6-2 evisceration of the Calgary Flames. Goalie Karri Ramo stopped the first shot, but couldn't control the rebound, and Ovechkin was there, on the doorstep to tap it in.

Since joining the NHL at the start of the 2005-06 season, Ovechkin has scored an astonishing 138 more goals than the next-highest player, the Colorado Avalanche's Jarome Iginla.

Only four players scored more goals (475) in their first 10 seasons than Ovechkin – Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy, Mario Lemieux and Brett Hull – and all played in a high-scoring era.

"I've been on his bandwagon since I got here," Capitals coach Barry Trotz says, "and the perception about him is all false. He is a dynamic player … and he's a beast, 6 foot 3 and 235 pounds.

"He has a rare combination that some of those great physical players of the past, the Gordie Howes and the Mark Messiers, had. Not only can they score that unbelievably skilled goal, they have that physicality factor that puts a little fear into you."

Since Trotz took over from Adam Oates in May, 2014, Ovechkin has undergone something of a defensive metamorphosis. Two years ago, he had one of the worst plus-minus ratings in the league (a minus-35), but he improved that to a plus-10 last year, without any meaningful change in his production. Ovechkin scored 24 of his 51 goals on the power play two years ago and 25 of his 53 goals on the power play last year. In all, he has six 50-goal seasons on his résumé; among active NHLers, the only one who is close is 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr, who has three, the last coming in 2005-06.

"Every year, it's hard to score goals," Ovechkin says. "It doesn't matter if it was 10 years ago or this year. Obviously, you play against the best D out there, and against the best goalies. You may have only one opportunity [in a game] and you have to use it."

Ovechkin scored the 900th point of his career in the victory over Calgary and goes into Thursday night's game against the Vancouver Canucks with a goal in each of the four games he has played this season. He was held out of the Capitals' only defeat, a 5-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks, after setting his alarm clock incorrectly – 8:30 p.m. instead of 8:30 a.m. – and oversleeping, which made him late for a game-day meeting.

Sometimes, teams will look the other way when a star player messes up, but the Capitals are trying to establish an organizational accountability that applies to all. On some teams, in some organizations, that could have become a thing. In Washington, it didn't.

"I love the fact that he's very honest and very accountable," Trotz says. "I have a great value for guys who are sort of throwbacks, but have the evolution of skill and speed. He's going to be a Hall of Fame player. He's probably got 10 good years left in him. At this pace, he might be the greatest goal scorer maybe in the history of the game. He can do that."