Capitals’ Ovechkin reaches 800 goals via hat trick

    Kristen Shilton is a national NHL reporter for ESPN.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored the 800th goal of his career on Tuesday to become the third player in NHL history — behind Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe — to reach the milestone.

He also became the first to do it with a single franchise, and it came as part of a hat trick performance against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The 37-year-old left wing tallied his historic marker in the third period of his 1,305th game of his career. It was also Ovechkin’s 20th goal this season, giving him an 18th consecutive campaigns with at least 20. Only Brendan Shanahan (19 straight) and Howe (22) have accomplished the same feat.

Tuesday also marked the 162nd multi-goal game of Ovechkin’s career, which trails only Gretzky’s mark of 189 games.

Ovechkin got the scoring started for Washington in Chicago as well, tallying the 136th game-opening goal of his career to break an all-tie tie with Jaromir Jagr in that category.

Howe became the first player to hit 800 goals on Feb. 29, 1980. He would stand alone there for 14 years until Gretzky grabbed his 800th on March 20, 1994.

Ovechkin’s next goal — No. 801 — will tie him with Howe for second-most in NHL history. Gretzky holds the all-time record at 894 goals.

In his run to 800, Ovechkin went through a stretch of scoring four empty-net goals in three games to reach 53 empty-netters in his career. Only Gretzky has ever buried more (56).

Now in his 18th NHL season, the Capitals’ captain has made a habit of racking up records. Ovechkin has nine 50-goal seasons to his credit — matching Gretzky and Mike Bossy — and became the oldest player (at age 36) when he hit the 50-goal threshold in 2021-22.

His nine Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophies are the most earned by any skater, and Ovechkin is the only player to have won a Stanley Cup (in 2018), a Conn Smythe Trophy (as playoff MVP), a Calder Trophy (for rookie of the year), an Art Ross Trophy (for leading the league in points), a Hart Trophy (as league MVP), a Ted Lindsay (for most outstanding player as voted by the NHLPA) and a Rocket over the course of their career.

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

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