Welcome to the club, Alex Ovechkin.
The 34-year-old may have cemented his title as the best pure goal scorer in NHL history on Saturday when he scored the 700th regular-season goal of his career. In doing so, he joined a short list of legends that have accomplished the feat which includes Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Jaromir Jagr, Brett Hull, Marcel Dionne, Phil Esposito and Mike Gartner.
With his Washington Capitals down 2-1 in the early stages of the third period against the New Jersey Devils, Ovechkin received a pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov and rifled his one-timer past Mackenzie Blackwood to knot things up.
Alex 👑 OvechKING 💯💯💯💯💯💯💯 pic.twitter.com/YCQHGZblsG— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 22, 2020
The goal, his 42nd of the season, made him the first Russian-born player to reach the benchmark and only the second born outside of North America to do it.
After firing the puck off the post and watching it cross the line, all of Washington’s skaters jumped off of the bench to celebrate with their captain.
According to Abbey Mastracco of USA Today Sports, the Devils gave the Capitals permission to do so before the game if Ovechkin were to tickle the twine during the game.
“It’s a special moment, obviously,” Ovechkin said to Adnan Virk of the NHL Network following the game. “When you get closer you start thinking when is it going to happen and finally it’s over. So, we don’t have to talk about it anymore. We’re going to move on.”
The ‘Great 8’ not being too thrilled while talking about the achievement wasn’t that surprising. While New Jersey was classy enough to let the Capitals swarm Ovechkin after the big goal, they weren’t going to let them have all of the fun. Damon Severson broke the tie with less than two minutes remaining in the third period to give the Devils the 3-2 victory.
The commentary of the historic tally was very good, but hearing a mic’d up Ovechkin react to the moment live is even better.
By scoring 700 goals in just 1,144 career games, Ovechkin became the second-fastest player in NHL history to hit the impressive mark. Wayne Gretzky — the league’s all-time leading goal scorer with 894 regular-season tallies — only needed 886 contests to score his first 700.
For those gripped by Ovechkin’s quest to break Gretzky’s all-time goal-scoring record, this is where the stats and math get interesting. While Ovechkin needed over 250 more games than ‘The Great One’ to score 700, he also required the fewest games of anyone in the ‘700 Career Goals Club’ to go from 600 to 700 lamp-lighters, according to Capitals PR.
Alex Ovechkin reached the 700 goal mark in his 1,144th career game, the second-fastest player in NHL history to reach the mark. pic.twitter.com/OHcmDox7l7— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) February 22, 2020
Does that mean the eight-time winner of the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy has what it takes to score 195 more in the NHL?
He has, however, scored at least 49 goals in five of his last six seasons and is now just one behind David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins and Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the league lead this year.
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