Washington, D.C. (WGR 550) - There's a new name now sitting behind Wayne Gretzky as the NHL's all-time leading goal scorer. That man is Alex Ovechkin.
The Washington Capitals captain made history on Friday night in the nation's capital, as he scored a pair of goals in a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets to pass Hockey Hall-of-Famer Gordie Howe for second place on the all-time goals list.
Late in the first period, Ovechkin received a drop pass from Dylan Strome just after entering the Jets' zone, and ended up firing a wrist shot that snuck under goalie David Rittich. His 21st goal of the season ended up being goal No. 801 of his career, tying "Mr. Hockey" on the all-time goal scoring list.
Then with the Capitals leading 3-1 late in the third period, the Jets ended up pulling Rittich from the next in favor of the extra attacker.
With exactly one minute remaining in regulation, Ovechkin found himself with the puck along the boards, as he spun and fired the puck into the empty net for his second tally of the night, his 22nd goal of the season, and goal No. 802 of his career.
After the goal, Ovechkin's teammates flooded off the bench to celebrate the milestone achievement with their captain. As everyone returned to the bench for the resumption of play, a video played on the Jumbotron at Capital One Arena in Washington with a message from Mark Howe, the son of the late, great Detroit Red Wings winger.
Following the game, Ovechkin was greeted with a standing ovation from the Capitals faithful, and was even congratulated at center ice from members of the Jets.
The former first overall pick of the 2014 NHL Draft, Ovechkin has spent his entire 18-year career in Washington with the Capitals. The 37-year-old has appeared in 1,310 regular season games with the Capitals, registering 1,451 points (802+649) in that time. In 147 career playoff games with Washington, Ovechkin has 72 goals and 69 assists for 141 points, and was the winner of the 2018 Stanley Cup.
The Russian-born winger is now only 92 goals behind Gretzky from tying the NHL's all-time goal scoring mark of 894 goals. Ovechkin has averaged 50 goals per-season over the course of his career, and it currently on pace to end his 2022-23 season with 50 goals.
Another 28 goals this season would give Ovechkin a total of 830 goals by the end of the campaign. If he continues to keep the pace he's at, it is likely that the "Great 8" will eclipse Gretzky's all-time goal scoring mark in the earlier portion of the 2024-25 season.
While "The Great One" may eventually have his goal scoring record broken, it's safe to assume his record for the most points scored in NHL history will never be broken. Gretzky's 2,857 points remains 936 points ahead of the next-best player on the all-time list (Jaromir Jagr). If you took away all of Gretzky's goals scored in the NHL, he would still lead the NHL in career points scored thanks to his remarkable 1,963 assists.
As for Ovechkin, his 1,451 points currently ranks him 18th on the NHL's all-time scoring list behind Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby by one point. The two players continue their neck-and-neck race up the scoring list, as they inch closer to towards Hall-of-Famer Teemu Selanne currently 16th in NHL history with 1,457 points.