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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Ovechkin reaches momentous NHL milestone (VIDEO)

The Russian scored his 800th goal in the league and is the first player to achieve the tally with a single franchise

A hat-trick from Alexander Ovechkin in the Washington Capitals’ 7-3 win at the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night took the Russian star onto a landmark 800 goals in the NHL.

Ovechkin became only the third player in NHL history to reach the scoring milestone, but is the first to do so at a single franchise.

Ovechkin, 37, is now just one goal away from catching late Canadian legend Gordie Howe in second place on the NHL’s all-time goalscoring list.

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“It’s a huge number,” Ovechkin said“It’s the best company you ever can imagine since you start playing hockey to be connected to Gordie.

“Eight hundred, I’m the third person who ever scored that many goals. So without my teammates, without the organization, the fans, my family, I would never get that number and I would never talk to you right now about those numbers.”

Ovechkin’s first goal of the night at the United Center in Chicago came after just 24 seconds, before he added a second on a power-play in the same period.

His third goal – and number 800 in the NHL – came as he seized onto a loose puck and fired into the net in the third period.

The Capitals’ bench cleared as Ovechkin was mobbed by his teammates. The Russian also earned an ovation from the Chicago crowd, which he acknowledged in return. 

The win was a fifth in a row for the Capitals as they continue to gain momentum following an indifferent start to the season.

Most of the talk was about Ovechkin, however, as he continued a remarkable story which began with the Capitals 18 seasons ago.

The Russian forward’s first goal came on his NHL debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 3-2 win back in 2005. 

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He has not let up since and is now poised to overtake Howe before attempting to chase down all-time leading NHL goalscorer Wayne Gretzky, who racked up 894 goals during his remarkable career.

Both Gretzky and Howe recorded their tallies with goals at more than one NHL team, while Ovechkin has done so solely at the Caps.

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Washington paid tribute to their captain by changing their social media profiles to feature an outline of Ovechkin along with a ‘GR8’ symbol – a nod to the Russian’s ‘Great Eight’ nickname.

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Capitals owner Ted Leonsis revealed this week that he had made an agreement with Ovechkin not to overhaul the team while the Russian pursues Gretzky’s record tally.

In return, Ovechkin has vowed to remain fully focused on collective glory rather than personal accolades, as the Capitals aim to put themselves back in contention for a first Stanley Cup since 2018.

Ovechkin could match and overtake Howe on the NHL scoring list when the Capitals host the Dallas Stars at the Capital One Arena on Thursday night – although the Central Division leaders will likely pose a sterner test than the struggling Blackhawks did.   

December 14, 2022 at 01:34PM
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