Ovechkin scores twice, passes Howe on goals list

    Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin has passed Gordie Howe for second in all-time NHL goals with 802, scoring twice against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night.

Ovechkin entered the night with 800 career goals. He tied Howe with a goal at 1:38 of the first period and then passed him on an empty-net goal with one minute remaining in the game, giving him 22 goals on the season. The Capitals won 4-1.

Ovechkin, 37, trails only Wayne Gretzky for the most goals in NHL history. Gretzky scored 894 goals in 1,487 games.

Ovechkin’s empty-net goal came with his back to the Winnipeg net. He flicked the puck between Jets defenders into the abandoned net to give the Capitals a 4-1 lead. It was the 54th empty-net goal of Ovechkin’s career, second only to Gretzky (56).

The game was stopped as a congratulatory message from Mark Howe, Gordie’s son, played on the Jumbotron. Ovechkin took a twirl on the ice and tapped his heart with his glove as Jets and Capitals players tapped their sticks in congratulations.

Ovechkin scored his first goal on a drop pass by center Dylan Strome, snapping a shot past Jets goalie David Rittich for the historic tally to tie Mr. Hockey.

Ovechkin reached the 800-goal mark in his 1,305th career game. Gretzky needed 1,116 games; Howe, at age 51, needed 1,748.

Ovechkin has scored at least 24 goals in every season of his NHL career and is one of three players to ever score 20 or more in at least 18 straight seasons.

The Capitals star eclipsed a Howe record earlier this season. With his 787th goal, Ovechkin passed Howe for the most goals scored with one team in NHL history. Howe scored 786 goals with the Detroit Red Wings and 15 more with the Hartford Whalers.

Mark Howe told ESPN earlier this year that he expected Ovechkin to not only pass his father’s career totals but those of Gretzky.

“I’ve seen a lot of scorers that put the puck in the net like nobody can, but after a while the puck starts hitting the crest instead of the corner of the net. I haven’t seen that with Ovi yet,” he said.

On Thursday night in Ottawa, Ovechkin set an NHL record for most career shots on goal, passing the previous mark of 6,209 shots set by Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque in his 1,612-game career. It was Ovechkin’s 1,309th career game. The NHL started tracking shots on goal in the 1959-60 season. Ovechkin and Bourque are the only two NHL players to eclipse 6,000 career shots on goal.

Ovechkin signed a five-year, $47-million extension in July 2021 that will keep him in Washington through 2026.

Source: Read Full Article