Ovechkin, the Capitals player, reaches 800 goals with a hat-trick
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored the 800th goal of his career on Tuesday night, becoming only 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 his hat-trick performance in a 7-3 win 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 hit his record in the third period with his 1,305th game. It was Ovechkin’s 20th goal of the season, giving him his 18th consecutive season with at least 20 points. Only Brendan Shanahan (19 streaks) and Howe (22) have achieved the same feat.
Tuesday also marked the 162nd multi-limits game of Ovechkin’s career, which only follows 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 ESPN’s “Sports Center 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.”
Black Hawks loyalists celebrated Ovechkin with a sea of hats after the hat-trick, and after the game ended he was congratulated by Chicago stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews at center ice, a clear testament to what his achievement means across hockey.
“The fans here have done a really good job of getting a second and honoring something,” said Washington coach Peter Laviolette. “Because they’re hockey fans, and what happened was a hockey moment. It wasn’t about a win or a loss or a Chicago vs. Washington. Somebody did something cool and the Chicago hockey fans noticed.”
In the first period, Ovechkin scored the 136th game-opening goal of his career, breaking a 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 record at 894 goals.
“I just try to think about the next game, the next turnaround, not what’s going to happen there,” Ovechkin 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 for any skater, and Ovechkin is the only player to have won the Stanley Cup (in 2018), Conn Smith Trophy (as playoff MVP), Calder Trophy (rookie of the year), and Art Trophy Ross (for leading the league in points), the Hart Trophy (as the league’s Most Valuable Player), the Ted Lindsay Award (for most valuable player as voted by the NHLPA) and the Rockets over the course of their career.
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.
Ovechkin said, “Once it’s over, we celebrate, we’re happy, and we move on.”
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