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Ovechkin can pass Gretzky in goals, Capitals GM says

Forward is 211 away from breaking NHL mark, 'has a shot at it' @NHLdotcom

Alex Ovechkin is 211 goals from breaking Wayne Gretzky's NHL record of 894, and Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said the forward has a chance to get there.

"He's not going to be the speed player or rush player he's been in the past, but he's finding ways to score," MacLellan told Sportsnet on Wednesday. "If his shot stays there, I think he has a shot at it."

Ovechkin, who scored twice in a 6-1 win against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, entered Washington's game against the against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN) with 684 NHL goals, tied with Teemu Selanne for 11th place. He is six from tying Mario Lemieux for 10th and 16 from becoming the eighth player in NHL history to score 700.

But to catch Gretzky, Ovechkin figures to have have to play at a high level for several seasons.

"Health is obviously going to play a big factor," MacLellan said. "He still shoots the puck well. As long as he has the shot, and we have a good enough team surrounding him, and our power play stays in the top 10, he has a chance to play for a long time. I think longevity is the key to him."

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A key factor for Ovechkin will be how long he plays. The 34-year-old said during the NHL Player Media Tour in September that he hasn't thought beyond the end of his contract, which expires at the end of next season. He's eligible to sign an extension with the Capitals beginning July 1.

"We'll see what's going to happen in two years," Ovechkin said. "We'll see where we're at and, of course, I want to play until I can't play, you know? I don't want to be a guy who go out there and just, like, you know, plays [like a] joke. If I'm going to be at the same level, yeah [I'll play]."

Ovechkin, who has averaged 0.61 goals per game, would have to score at the same pace for another 344 games -- the equivalent of more than four full NHL seasons -- to pass Gretzky.

"I'm going to have to play until I'm 60 if I want to break that record," Ovechkin told last month. "No, I'm joking. We'll see."

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