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Ovechkin scores 700th NHL goal for Capitals

Becomes eighth player at milestone with one against Devils

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

Ovechkin joins 700-goal club

WSH@NJD: Ovechkin scores 700th NHL goal

Alex Ovechkin joins an illustrious group as he becomes just the eighth player in NHL history to reach the 700-goal mark

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NEWARK, N.J. -- Alex Ovechkin scored his 700th NHL goal for the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

The forward scored against the New Jersey Devils to become the eighth NHL player to reach the milestone. He scored in a second straight game after not scoring in his prior five, his longest drought since December 2018.

"Obviously, when you get closer, you were thinking about it, when it's going to happen," Ovechkin said. "But I knew someday, even if I didn't score today, we still have 20 games (left) and one goal, I was good."

Video: Hats off to Alex Ovechkin for notching his 700th goal

Wayne Gretzky (894), Gordie Howe (801), Jaromir Jagr (766), Brett Hull (741), Marcel Dionne (731), Phil Esposito (717) and Mike Gartner (708) are the other players to score 700 NHL goals.

"That's pretty good company, so I'm happy to be there," Ovechkin said. "But we have to focus on different things, and right now it's important points for us, and tomorrow (against the Pittsburgh Penguins) is going to be a big game."

The forward scored at 4:50 of the third period on a slap shot from the right circle to tie the game 2-2. Washington lost 3-2.

"A pretty good pass by [Evgeny Kuznetsov] and I hit the net," Ovechkin said. "It hit the post and goes in. It's over, so move on."

Video: Relive all of Alex Ovechkin's 700 NHL goals

Ovechkin is the first player to score his 700th goal since March 1, 2014, when Jagr did so playing for the Devils against the New York Islanders.

"Sometimes you get that feel that it's going to go in," Capitals forward Tom Wilson said. "I saw him in a position to shoot, and post and in if I'm correct. I just heard it, and pretty special to have a front row seat to something like that."

At 34 years old, Ovechkin is the second-youngest player to score 700 goals, behind Gretzky, who was 29 when he scored his playing for the Los Angeles Kings against the Islanders on Jan 3, 1991. Ovechkin scored his 700th goal in his 1,143rd regular-season game, the second fastest behind Gretzky, who scored his in his 886th game.

Ovechkin is the first player born in Russia to score 700 NHL goals.

"We're proud of him," Kuznetsov said. "Like I always say, you know, I see him every day, and you don't really realize who you play with. The guy having the chance to be No. 1 in the whole history, which is part of that. And like I said, we don't even realize sometimes who we play with."

Video: WSH@NJD: Ovi, teammates sound off after 700th goal

Ovechkin needed 155 games to get from 600 goals to 700, which is the fewest among the eight 700-goal scorers. Gretzky, who went from 600 to 700 in 169 games, was the only player to do it in fewer than 200 games.

Washington is 1-5-1 since Ovechkin scored No. 698 on Feb. 4.

"I don't think the team was thinking about it too much," Ovechkin said. "It's something we know is going to come and you just have to wait a little bit. And, again, pretty big number, pretty good company. So, let's forget about it and it goes on."

The Capitals captain is eight from scoring 50 for the ninth time in his 15 NHL seasons, which would tie Gretzky and Mike Bossy for the most 50-goal seasons. Ovechkin would be the second-oldest player with a 50-goal season, behind Johnny Bucyk of the Boston Bruins, who scored 51 in 1970-71 when he was 35, and Ovechkin would join Phil Esposito of the Bruins as the only players to have three 50-goal seasons after turning 30.

"So, it's remarkable," Wilson said. "I think it's been a lot of fun for you guys, it's been a lot of fun for us. It's been a lot of fun for anyone involved in hockey to watch what he's been doing. So, I don't think many people are going to forget the achievements that he's getting, and so well deserved. He's been a great pro for a long time and scored a ton of goals."

Video: Watch Ovi celebrate every goal like it's his first

With 42 goals in 60 games, Ovechkin is on pace to finish with 56, which would be his most since he scored 56 in 2008-09, the season after scoring 65, his NHL career-high.

Ovechkin could lead the NHL in goals for a third straight season and the ninth time. Bobby Hull is the only other player to lead the NHL in goals as many as seven times.

"Yeah, amazing," Washington coach Todd Reirden said. "It just was obviously a matter of time, but that was again a huge goal for us at the time and amazing to be able to watch it in person, and be able to go through the last six years with this player is amazing to watch. Certainly a superstar, in my time the best goal-scorer that I have ever seen. So, amazing player, and it was history to watch it tonight."

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