Alex Ovechkin scores his 718th career goal to overtake Phil Esposito for sixth on the NHL’s all-time list


WASHINGTON – Alex Ovechkin took sole possession of sixth place on the NHL career goal list in the most Alex Ovechkin way possible: overtaking a goalie by a time from inside the circle head-to-head in the power play at a great game for Washington Capitals.

Ovechkin scored his 718th goal to pass Phil Esposito and became the second active player to record 1,300 points, placing the Capitals in first place in the East Division by beating the New York Islanders 3-1 on Tuesday night. .

“A goal is a goal, it’s always a nice feeling to get it,” Ovechkin said. “It was a very good game, great points and obviously great numbers.”

The Capitals have won six in a row and 10 of their last 11 to get ahead of the Islanders in the standings.

Ovechkin is a great reason for that. The veteran captain has goals in four straight games and five of six and is tied with his career partner Nicklas Backstrom, who also scored, for the team lead with 12 this season.

“We’ve seen him do it year after year,” Backstrom said of Ovechkin. “He’s so impressive. I think the way he shoots the puck, the way he scores, the way he plays the game is just fun to watch. As a teammate, you’re enjoying every moment.”

The goal n. 718 also came against former Capitals teammate and compatriot Semyon Varlamov, his supporting actor in the classic Russian spy commercial This is SportsCenter ESPN. Ovechkin hadn’t been able to hit the time on his trademark for a timer, but this time he didn’t miss.

“I just have to hit the net,” he said. “Finally”.

Ovechkin is 13 goals behind tying Marcel Dionne for fifth and needs 177 more to break Wayne Gretzky’s record.

“You are a fantastic hockey player,” Esposito said in a video message congratulating Ovechkin on passing it. “I don’t know how you score all those goals with the way these guys block shots with the great team they use. Good luck.”

With Ovechkin at the helm, the Capitals gave the Islanders their first loss since February 27 and their first in regulation since February 20.

Ovechkin didn’t just score himself. He made a perfect pass to get Evgeny Kuznetsov into the offensive zone and collected the secondary assist as TJ Oshie picked up the rebound and scored.

That was the 1,300th point in Ovechkin’s career, making him the 35th player in history to reach that mark. Graybeard Joe Thornton is the only other active player on that list at 1,521.

With his 1,301 point in power play goal, his 264, his third all-time, Ovechkin also surpassed newly elected Hockey Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla for 33rd on the scoring list of his career. Barry Trotz, who coached the Capitals for the Stanley Cup in 2018 and passed the Islanders, said he wished he weren’t in the building for another Ovechkin milestone.

“I recognize its greatness and milestones,” Trotz said. “I encourage him, there is no doubt. But not when he plays against us.”

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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