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Alex Ovechkin career timeline: Chasing Gretzky's NHL goals record

Capitals forward second all-time to Hockey Hall of Famer's 894

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Alex Ovechkin passed Gordie Howe for second in goals in NHL history Dec. 23, 2022, when he scored Nos. 801 and 802 to help the Washington Capitals to a 4-1 home win against the Winnipeg Jets. He trails Wayne Gretzky for the most goals all time (894).

He's earned his reputation as one of the best pure goal-scorers in NHL history, and his performance during his 18 seasons, all for the Capitals, has made him a generational talent.

The 37-year-old forward won the 2006 Calder Trophy voted as NHL rookie of year, is a three-time Hart Trophy winner as NHL most valuable player and a nine-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner as the leading goal scorer in a season. He led the NHL with 112 points in 2007-08, his third season, to win the Art Ross Trophy and is a three-time Ted Lindsay Award winner voted as most outstanding player. He won the Stanley Cup in 2018, when the Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights in five games and was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Here's a look at some of the most important dates in Ovechkin's career:

June 26, 2004: The Capitals select Ovechkin with the first pick in the 2004 NHL Draft.

Oct. 5, 2005: Ovechkin makes his NHL debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He scores two goals in a 3-2 win.

Jan. 13, 2006: Ovechkin gets his first NHL hat trick in his 43rd game, scoring all of Washington's goals in a 3-2 overtime win at the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Jan. 15, 2006: In one of the defining plays of his NHL career, Ovechkin scores a spectacular third-period goal after falling down and sliding on his back in a 6-1 win at the Phoenix Coyotes.

Feb 15, 2006: Ovechkin plays his first game for Russia at the 2006 Torino Olympics.

April 13, 2006: Ovechkin scores in the first period of a 5-3 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers, becoming the fourth rookie in NHL history to get 50 goals in a season. He joins Teemu Selanne (76, 1992-93 season), Mike Bossy (53, 1977-78) and Joe Nieuwendyk (52, 1987-88). Ovechkin finishes with 106 points (52 goals, 54 assists) in 81 games.

June 22, 2006: Ovechkin wins the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie.

Oct. 12, 2007: Ovechkin scores his 100th NHL goal in a 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

March 21, 2008: Ovechkin becomes the 19th player in NHL history to have a 60-goal season when he scores a third-period goal in a 5-3 win against the Thrashers.

April 11, 2008: In his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut, Ovechkin has a goal and an assist in a 5-4 win against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Capitals lose the best-of-7 series 4-3.

June 12, 2008: The "Great 8" cleans up at the 2008 NHL Awards. After finishing the 2007-08 season with 112 points (65 goals, 47 assists), Ovechkin wins the Hart Trophy, the Art Ross Trophy, the Rocket Richard Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award . He is the first player to win all four awards in the same season.

May 4, 2009: In a second-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Capitals win Game 2, 4-3. Ovechkin and Penguins center Sidney Crosby each have a hat trick. However, Washington loses the series in seven games.

June 18, 2009: Ovechkin becomes the 17th player in NHL history to win the Hart Trophy twice, and the 10th player to win the award in consecutive seasons.

Feb. 5, 2009: Ovechkin joins Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Bossy as the only players to score 200 goals in their first four NHL seasons when he gets No. 200 in a 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.

April 5, 2011: A power-play shot from the top of the left circle against the Toronto Maple Leafs makes Ovechkin the sixth-youngest player in NHL history to score 300 goals.

June 14, 2013: After finishing the 2012-13 season with 56 points (32 goals, 24 assists) in 48 games, Ovechkin becomes the eighth player in NHL history to win the Hart Trophy three times.

Sept. 29, 2013: Less than five months before the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Ovechkin carries the Olympic torch. He tweeted: "So sick!!!!!!! best moment in my life!!! thx @cocacola and Sochi 2014 !!!!" with a picture of him carrying the torch.

Dec. 20, 2013: Ovechkin becomes the 89th NHL player to score 400 goals. He is the sixth-fastest to do so, trailing Gretzky, Bossy, Lemieux, Brett Hull and Jari Kurri.

Feb. 1, 2015: With a first-period, power-play goal in a 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues, Ovechkin reaches 30 goals for the 10th consecutive season. He becomes the fifth NHL player to accomplish that feat, joining Bossy, Gretzky, Kurri and Mike Gartner.

June 24, 2015: Ovechkin accepts his fifth Rocket Richard Trophy at the 2015 NHL Awards. He is the fifth player to lead the League in goals outright at least five times, joining Gretzky and Howe (five times each), and Bobby Hull and Phil Esposito (six times), with Hull tying for the League lead on a seventh occasion.

Nov. 20, 2015: With his 484th NHL goal, Ovechkin passes Sergei Fedorov for most goals by a Russia-born player. It took Fedorov 1,248 games to set that record; Ovechkin broke it in 777.

Jan. 10, 2016: Ovechkin becomes the 43rd player to score 500 NHL goals with a power-play goal against the Ottawa Senators at Verizon Center.

Nov. 19, 2015: Ovechkin passes Fedorov for the most NHL goals scored by a player born in Russia when he gets No. 484 in his 777th NHL game.

Jan. 11, 2017: Playing in his 880th NHL game, Ovechkin becomes the 84th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 points when he scores a first-period goal against the Penguins. It's also his 545th goal, passing Maurice Richard.

Jan. 27, 2017: In a ceremony during All-Star weekend in Los Angeles, Ovechkin is named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian.

Jan. 2, 2018: Ovechkin scores his 100th game-winning goal and NHL-record 22nd in overtime to give the Capitals a 5-4 win against the Hurricanes.

Jan. 25, 2018: Ovechkin becomes the sixth player in NHL history to score 30 or more goals in 13 consecutive seasons and gets his 500th assist in the Capitals' 4-2 win against the Florida Panthers.

March 3, 2018: Ovechkin becomes the sixth player in NHL history to score 40 or more goals in at least nine seasons when he scores in a 5-2 win against the Maple Leafs in the 2018 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland. The others are Gretzky (12), Lemieux and Marcel Dionne (10), and Bossy and Gartner (nine).

March 12, 2018: Ovechkin becomes the 20th player to score 600 NHL goals when he scores twice in a 3-2 overtime win against the Jets.

May 7, 2018: Ovechkin has the primary assist on Evgeny Kuznetsov's goal in overtime to help the Capitals to a 2-1 win against the Penguins. It's their first win in their past seven playoff series against Pittsburgh and they advance to the conference final for the first time in the Ovechkin era.

May 23, 2018: Fittingly, it's Ovechkin with what turns out to be the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final, a 4-0 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning to help Washington advance to the Cup Final for the first time since 1998.

May 30, 2018: Two days after making his Stanley Cup Final debut, Ovechkin has his first goal of the Final in a 3-2 win in Game 2 against the Vegas Golden Knights to give Washington its first Cup Final win in history.

June 7, 2018: Ovechkin scores his 15th goal of the playoffs, setting the Capitals record for the most during a single postseason and wins the Conn Smythe Trophy to lead Washington to its first Stanley Cup championship with a 4-3 win against the Golden Knights in Game 5 of the Final.

April 7, 2019: Ovechkin wins the Rocket Richard Trophy for a record eighth time. The forward scored 51 goals, holding off Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, who was second with 50. Ovechkin broke a tie with Bobby Hull, who led the NHL seven times.

Jan. 20, 2020: The forward scored three goals in a 6-4 win against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum, giving him 692 goals to tie Steve Yzerman for ninth place on the career goal llist. He passed Mario Lemieux (690) of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Feb. 4, 2020: Ovechkin joined Gretzky as the only NHL players to score 40 goals in 11 seasons when he scored three times in the third period against the Kings. Ovechkin became the first player with 11 seasons of at least 40 goals with one team.

Feb. 22, 2020: Scored his 700th NHL goal in a 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Gretzky, Howe, Jaromir Jagr (766), Brett Hull (741), Dionne (731), Esposito (717) and Gartner (708) are the other players to score 700.

Video: WSH@NJD: Ovechkin scores 700th NHL goal

Feb. 4, 2021: Passed Gartner with goal No. 709 to move into seventh in NHL history during a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

March 16, 2021: Scored No. 718 to move ahead of Esposito for sixth, a power-play goal in a 3-1 win against the New York Islanders in Washington, DC.

Oct. 13, 2021: Continued his climb by passing Dionne for fifth with Nos. 731 and 732 during a 5-1 win against the Rangers in the Capitals' regular-season opener.

Nov. 12, 2021: Took over fourth place from Hull when he scored No. 742 in a 4-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

March 8, 2022: Tied Jagr for third in NHL history with two goals in a 5-4 win at the Calgary Flames. In that same game, Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom became the ninth set of NHL teammates and first in Capitals history to play 1,000 games together.

Video: WSH@CGY: Ovechkin scores No. 766, tying Jagr all-time

March 15, 2022: Passed Jagr with No. 767 in a 5-4 shootout win against the New York Islanders.

April 21, 2022: Tied Gretzky and Bossy for the most 50-goal seasons in NHL history with nine when he scored twice a 4-3 overtime loss to the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. At age 36, Ovechkin became the oldest player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a season (36 years, 215 days), surpassing Johnny Bucyk, who was 35 years, 308 days, when he scored his 50th with the Boston Bruins in 1970-71.

Nov. 3, 2022: Tied the NHL record for most goals with one team when he scored No. 786 for the Capitals in the second period of a 3-1 loss at the Detroit Red Wings, when Howe's son, Mark, was in attendance. The goal was scored about three miles from the site of the Olympia, where Gordie Howe scored his 786th goal for Detroit on April 3, 1971.

Nov. 5, 2022: Broke the record with No. 787 in a 3-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes at Capital One Arena. Howe scored 786 goals in 1,687 games over 25 seasons with the Red Wings from 1946-1971. 

Nov. 30, 2022: Scored twice during a 5-1 win at the Vancouver Canucks to pass Gretzky for the most road goals in NHL history (403).

Dec. 13, 2022: Scored a hat trick during a 7-3 victory at the Chicago Blackhawks to become the third player to score 800 goals.

Dec. 23, 2022: Passed Gordie Howe for second on the NHL goals list with Nos. 801 and 802 in a 4-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Capital One Arena.

Video: WPG@WSH: Ovechkin nets 801st, 802nd career goals

Jan. 14, 2023: Tied Gartner's NHL record with his 17th 30-goal season in a 3-1 loss to the Flyers.

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