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Alex Ovechkin scores 802nd NHL goal to overtake Gordie Howe as No. 2

Alex Ovechkin scores 802nd NHL goal to overtake Gordie Howe as No. 2

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin has overtaken another legend, and only The Great One is ahead of him.

He scored his 801st and 802nd goals of his NHL career Friday night against the Winnipeg Jets to reach the late Hall of Famer Gordie Howe for sole possession of second place in the all-time goal tally.

Ovechkin is now 92 goals behind Wayne Gretzky’s 894 goals. Ovechkin, 37, is signed for another three seasons after this season, giving him a good chance of setting the record.

“Step by step guys,” Ovechkin said after posing with sons Sergei and Ilya and the milestone pucks. “There’s still a long way to go.”

Ovechkin equalized Howe at 18:22 of the first period with a right wing snap in a nice sequence.

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Ovechkin scored No. 802 into an empty net with a minute left and flicked the puck towards the net as players came at him along the left cushion.

There was a brief lull in the game as teammates flocked to the ice in celebration. A video message from Hall of Famer Mark Howe, son of Gordie Howe, played and Ovechkin then took a lap to greet the crowd.

“It’s nice to do it at home, in front of our house, our family, our friends — of course, fans,” Ovechkin said. “It’s a big deal.”

After the Capitals’ 4-1 win, he shook hands with every member of the Jets — the franchise he’s scored more goals against than anyone else.

“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 show of respect to really let him know that we appreciate everything he’s done for the league, everything he’s done for us as players. The milestone is an incredible achievement.”

Ovechkin now has 22 goals in 36 games this season, keeping him in line for another 50-goal season.

Gretzky’s brand was once thought to be indestructible, but Ovechkin, the 2004 No. 1 overall who scored twice in his NHL debut and had 65 goals in his third season, was seen as the most likely to do so. He has maintained the excellence that has allowed him to win nine goalscoring titles.

Blessed with a brilliant shot and stamina, he was the fastest going from 600 to 700 goals (154 games) and from 700 to 800 goals (162 games), with Gretzky finishing second both times. He scored 800 goals in Chicago on December 13 with the 29th hat trick of his career.

Ovechkin has moved past many of the league’s biggest names in recent years.

As of early January 2020, he has overtaken 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 equaled NHL records for most seasons of 40 and 50 goals.

That season he broke Howe’s record for most goals with a franchise, also broke Gretzky’s record for away goals and Jagr’s mark for most goals in the opening game. He also broke Raymond Bourque’s record for shots in Thursday night’s game.

Contribution: Associated Press

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