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Ovechkin one point from Fedorov milestone

Set to join mentor, former Capitals teammate as leading Russia-born scorer in NHL history

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Alex Ovechkin appreciates all the milestones he's achieved in his 14-season NHL career, but the Washington Capitals captain is closing in on one of particular significance to him.

Heading into the Capitals' game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, SN360, TVAS), the 33-year-old left wing is one point behind Sergei Fedorov for the most by a Russia-born player in League history.

After getting four points (three goals, one assist) in a 7-6 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, Ovechkin has 1,178 points (643 goals, 535 assists) in 1,052 NHL games. Fedorov finished his NHL career in 2008-09 with 1,179 points (483 goals, 696 assists) in 1,248 games with the Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Capitals. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.

"It's going to be a historical moment, obviously, for me, for all the Russian players," Ovechkin said. "[Fedorov] is a legend and it's going to be nice to pass him."

Video: SJS@WSH: Ovechkin earns his third hatty of the season

Ovechkin, who leads the League with 36 goals this season and leads the Capitals with 56 points, broke Fedorov's record for most goals by a Russian-born player by scoring his 484th goal on Nov. 19, 2015 against the Dallas Stars.

He is 14th in NHL history in goals and is 50th in points. Fedorov is 49th in points.

Fedorov won the Stanley Cup three times with the Red Wings (1996-97, 1997-98 and 2001-02) and became the first Russian-born player to win the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player in 1993-94.

Ovechkin has won the Hart Trophy three times (2007-08, 2008-09, 2012-13) and became the first Russian-born captain of a Stanley Cup winner last season. Ovechkin also became the second Russian-born player to win the Conn Symthe Trophy as most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, following Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008-09.

Now, Ovechkin is set to pass the 49-year-old Fedorov and become the all-time leader in points among Russian-born NHL players.

"That's a huge milestone to be the greatest of all time of Russian players," said Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov, who is from Chelyabinsk, Russia. "I'm really proud to share the room with him. Maybe right now we don't understand what kind of person [he is] and what kind of player, but when he gets older we'll probably think [he's] a pretty good player."

When Ovechkin was growing up in Moscow, Fedorov was one of the Russian players he looked up to. So it had special meaning for Ovechkin when Washington acquired Fedorov in a trade from the Blue Jackets on Feb. 26, 2008.

"It was great," Ovechkin said. "First of all, it was a huge honor, a great experience and you learn a lot."

On a young Capitals team that included a 22-year-old Ovechkin and a 20-year-old Nicklas Backstrom, Fedorov had 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in 18 games after the trade to help Washington reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2007-08 for the first time since 2002-03. Fedorov had 33 points (11 goals, 22 assists) in 52 games in 2008-09 and scored the winning goal with 4:59 remaining in the Capitals' 2-1 victory against the New York Rangers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, which put them in the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1997-98.

Video: Sergei Fedorov leads all Russians in assists, points

"When I went to Washington, I understood my role as a mentor, a kind of consultant, someone with experience who might be able to guide some of the first rounders in the right direction to achieve their main goal of winning the Stanley Cup," Fedorov said.

Fedorov left the NHL following that 2008-09 season and finished his playing career with three seasons in Russia with Magnitogorsk in the Kontinental Hockey League. Ovechkin values the lessons he learned from Fedorov during their time as teammates in Washington, ones that have served him well in leading the Capitals to their first Cup championship last season.

"I learned how to [prepare] before the game, how to forget if something good or bad happened," Ovechkin said. "You have to move forward all the time."

Ovechkin and Fedorov, now general manager of CSKA Moscow in the KHL, remain good friends. In fact, Fedorov attended one of Ovechkin's parties with the Stanley Cup in Moscow in July.

"We have a very good relationship," Ovechkin said. "We're close friends. I'm lucky to have that kind of person among my friends."

Fedorov was happy to hear he's been a positive influence on Ovechkin, even if he's about to break another of his records.

"I'm very glad that he found something in my game and in our experience when we crossed paths with the Capitals and it helped him achieve great results," Fedorov said. "I don't consider myself I'd like to be an example. I'd like to help someone on the ice and away from the rink. Hopefully I was able to help Ovechkin with something."

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