To say that John Carlson had a fast start to the 2019-20 season would not quite do him justice. He started the season with 20 points in his first 11 games, which was the fastest a Capital has ever reached 20 points, including forwards! He led the entire league in points from October 20th through the 26th. His 23 points in the month of October set a franchise record for points by a defenseman in a single month. It was also the second most points ever scored by a defenseman in the month of October (Al MacInnis had 25 in Oct. 1990). He was rewarded with the NHL's 1st Star of the Month award for October.
With an 8-game point streak in November and an average of a point per game in the months of November, December, and January, Carlson finished the shortened season with 75 points, 10 more than the next highest defenseman. In fact, if it weren't for the season being interrupted, he would have most likely eclipsed Larry Murphy's franchise record of 81 points by a defenseman during the 1986-87 season.
Over the course of the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, Nicklas Backstrom hit several milestones. On February 14, 2021, Nick scored his 250th NHL goal. A few weeks later on March 5, he recorded his 700th assist. And about six weeks after that on April 15, he played in his 1000th NHL game.
After sitting out the first part of the 2021-22 season with a hip injury, Nick returned to the Capitals lineup to chase down career point number 1000. On March 9, 2022 in Edmonton, Nick opened the scoring with a powerplay goal for point 999 and in the second period, he assisted on a T.J. Oshie goal for number 1000. He was only the second player to record 1000 points with the Capitals (Ovechkin being the other) and at the time he was the franchise leader in assists, second in games, points, power play points, and overtime goals. He is the 93rd person in NHL history to hit the milestone, but only 60 have reached it in fewer than Nick's 1037 games. Of those 60, 48 are in the Hockey Hall of Fame and five others are either still active or not yet eligible (Crosby, Kane, Thornton, Ovechkin, Malkin).
As Alex Ovechkin continued to score 50 goals per season into his mid-30s it became inevitable that he would eventually chase down the top goal scorers of all time. On December 23, 2022 at home against the Winnipeg Jets, he tied and passed Gordie Howe, with goals 801 and 802. Goal 801 came as the first period was winding down. Dylan Strome left a drop pass to a trailing Ovechkin coming over the blueline. With the defenseman backing off, Ovi was able to skate to the top of the circle and get off a quick snap shot that hit the post and went in.
With the Caps up 3-1 late in the third period, the Jets pulled goalie David Rittich and everyone in the building knew what might be coming. With about 1:20 left Kuznetsov gave Ovi a pass deep in the Caps zone and Alex hit the post from about 140 feet away. Just 10 seconds later, Nick Jensen made a long pass from the corner that ended up on stick of Kuznetsov. Kuzy quickly got the puck up to Alex, and even though Alex was wide open and could have easily scored, he passed back to Kuznetsov. Kuzy had no one between him and the empty net, yet he passed the puck through two Jets defenders back to Ovi. Finally, Ovi collected the puck along the boards and just buried it from 70 feet away for number 802.