A hat-trick gives Capitals captain Ovechkin 800 career goals

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin He scored the 800th career goal on Tuesday, becoming just the third player in NHL history — behind Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe — to reach that goal.

He also became the first to do so with one distinction, and it came as part of a hat-trick performance in 7-3 victory Over the Chicago Blackhawks.

“This…it’s huge. It’s huge for hockey, it’s huge for the organization,” an exhausted Ovechkin told his teammates in the locker room after the win. “And to do it with you guys, it’s special.”

The 37-year-old left winger recorded his historic touchdown in the third period of the 1,305th game of his career. It was Ovechkin’s 20th goal of the season, giving him 18 consecutive seasons with at least 20 goals. Only Brendan Shanahan (19 straight) and Howe (22) have achieved the same feat.

Tuesday also marked the 162nd multi-goal game of Ovechkin’s career, which follows only Gretzky’s mark of 189 games. He caught his first two of the night in the opening slot.

“It’s a special night. To get two goals straight away, it felt like the game,” Ovechkin said on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt after the game. “I’m really proud that it’s over. Now, we can move on and focus on the next one.”

In the first period, Ovechkin scored his 136th career opening goal, breaking the all-time tie with Jaromir Jagr in that category.

Howe became the first player to score 800 goals on February 29, 1980. He would stand alone there for 14 years until Gretzky grabbed his 800th goal on March 20, 1994. Ovechkin’s next goal—his 801st—would tie him and Howe for second most in NHL history. Gretzky holds the all-time record with 894 goals.

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“I just try to think about the next game, the next turnaround and not what’s going to happen there,” he said. “I’m just going to try to help the team win, and it doesn’t matter how.”

In his career to 800, Ovechkin passed by hitting four empty targets in three games for a career high of 53 empty targets. Only Gretzky was buried more than ever (56).

Now in his 18th season in the NHL, Ovechkin is accustomed to collecting records. He has nine 50-goal seasons to his credit – matching Gretzky and Mike Bossy – and became the oldest player (at age 36) when he reached the 50-goal threshold in 2021-22.

Richard’s nine Morris “Rocket” Awards are the most by any skater, and Ovechkin is the only player to win the Stanley Cup (in 2018), the Conn Smith Trophy (as playoff MVP), the Calder Cup (rookie of the year), and the Trophy Art Ross (for leading the league in points), the Hart Trophy (as the league’s MVP), Ted Lindsay (for Most Valuable Player as voted by the NHLPA) and the Rockets over the course of their careers.

Ovechkin was drafted first overall by Washington in 2004 and showed instant scoring touch as he scored two goals in his NHL debut on October 5, 2005. His best offensive campaign to date was 2007-08, when he became the 23rd player to score 65 goals. . in one season while finishing with 112 points.

The Capitals, slowly becoming healthy after a slow start, have won five straight. They will host the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

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“Once it’s over, we celebrate, we’re happy, and we move on,” he said.

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