WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin passed Steve Yzerman for ninth place on the NHL goals list when the Washington Capitals forward scored in the first period against the Nashville Predators on Wednesday.
Ovechkin scored his 693rd NHL goal at 16:26 of the period to move within one of Mark Messier, who is eighth in League history. Ovechkin is seven goals from becoming the eighth NHL player to score 700.
"A big honor to be on that list," Ovechkin said after a 5-4 loss. "Kind of happy, but still a long way to go."
Ovechkin has 693 goals in 1,134 games during 15 NHL seasons with the Capitals. Yzerman scored 692 goals in 1,514 games in 22 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings before retiring in 2006.
"You've had a tremendous career to date and it looks like you're going strong and might play forever," Yzerman said in a video played at Capital One Arena. "Best of luck and continued success. I've really enjoyed watching you play and watching you fill the net. All the best.
"One more thing: If you ever do break Wayne Gretzky's all-time record for most goals in the League, after watching your Stanley Cup celebrations, I want to be invited to your party."
Messier scored 694 goals in 1,756 games in 25 seasons with the Oilers, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks before retiring in 2005.
Ovechkin is third in the NHL with 35 goals, one behind Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and two behind Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak.
Ovechkin returned to the Capitals lineup after he did not play in a 4-2 win at the Montreal Canadiens on Monday, when he served a one-game suspension for skipping the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Saturday.
He has nine goals in his past four games, including consecutive hat tricks against the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 16 and the New York Islanders on Jan. 18. The 34-year-old is five goals from joining Gretzky as the only players in NHL history with at least 11 40-goal seasons. Gretzky scored at least 40 goals 12 times during his 20 NHL seasons with the Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and Rangers before retiring in 1999.
Ovechkin would be the first player to have 11 seasons with at least 40 goals with one team.
Gretzky (894), Gordie Howe (801), Jaromir Jagr (766), Brett Hull (741), Marcel Dionne (731), Phil Esposito (717) and Mike Gartner (708) are the players who have scored 700 NHL goals.