Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin passed another legend, and only The Great One is ahead of him.
He scored his 801st and 802nd goals of his NHL career against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night to tie and move past late Hall of Famer Gordie Howe for sole possession of second place on the all-time goal list.
Ovechkin is now 92 goals behind Wayne Gretzky’s 894. Ovechkin, 37, is signed for another three seasons beyond this one, giving him a good chance to set the record.
“Step by step, guys,” Ovechkin said after posing with sons Sergei and Ilya and the milestone pucks. “Still a long way.”
Ovechkin tied Howe at 18:22 of the first period with a snap-shot from the right wing on a pretty sequence.
Ovechkin scored No. 802 into an empty net with one minute to go, flicking the puck toward the net while players converged on him along the left boards.
There was a brief pause in play as teammates poured onto the ice in celebration. A video message from Hall of Famer Mark Howe, the son of Gordie Howe, played and Ovechkin then took a spin to salute the crowd.
“It’s nice to get it done at home, in front of our house, family, our friends – obviously fans,” Ovechkin said. “It’s a big thing.”
He shook hands with every member of the Jets – the franchise he’s scored more goals against than any other – after the game, a 4-1 Capitals win.
“He’s done so much for this league,” Jets forward Adam Lowry said of Ovechkin. “He’s a great personality and it’s just a sign of respect to really let him know we appreciate all he’s done for the league, all he’s done for us as players. The milestone, it’s an incredible accomplishment.”
Ovechkin now has 22 goals in 36 games this season, keeping him just on pace for yet another 50-goal season.
Gretzky’s mark was once thought unbreakable, but Ovechkin, the 2004 No. 1 overall pick who scored twice in his NHL debut and had 65 goals in his third season, has been considered the most likely to do it. He has kept up the excellence that allowed him to win nine goal-scoring titles.
Blessed with a blistering shot and durability, he was fastest to go from 600 to 700 goals (154 games) and from 700 goals to 800 (162 games), with Gretzky coming in second both times. He reached 800 goals on Dec. 13 in Chicago with the 29th hat trick of his career.
Ovechkin has moved past many of the league’s biggest names in recent years.
Since early January 2020, he has passed Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, Mark Messier, Mike Gartner, Phil Esposito, Marcel Dionne, Brett Hull, Jaromir Jagr and Howe.
Last season, he broke Dave Andreychuk’s power-play goal record and tied the NHL records for most 40- and 50-goal seasons.
This season, he broke Howe’s record for most goals with one franchise, plus broke Gretzky’s record for road goals and Jagr’s mark for most game-opening goals. He also broke Raymond Bourque’s record for shots in Thursday night’s game.