February 26, 2024

Alex Ovechkin’s surge has him 60 goals away from NHL record

Fresh off a household journey to Dubai in the course of the Washington Capitals‘ bye week and the All-Star break, Alex Ovechkin has scored in all 4 video games to increase his streak to 5, his longest in almost three years.

And after simply eight goals by means of his first 43 video games, the Russian famous person, captain and face of the franchise once more has his sights set on Wayne Gretzky’s profession record that lengthy appeared unapproachable.

Ovechkin now has 13 goals this season to present him 835 — 60 again of passing Gretzky.

“Certainly not surprised by it,” mentioned Vancouver Canucks defenseman Ian Cole, whose membership defeated the Capitals 3-2 in time beyond regulation on Sunday. “He is the gold standard for goal scoring in NHL history, in my mind. Obviously Wayne Gretzky, he’s the ‘Great One,’ he’s the best, but what Ovi’s done in the time period that he’s played is absolutely remarkable.

“His capacity to proceed to be a power on this league in multiple sense, however actually the goal-scoring one, is superb. His longevity, it is unimaginable.”

On Saturday, Ovechkin set the table for the Gretzky Watch, popping in an empty-net goal in a 3-0 win over the Boston Bruins. It was the 57th empty-netter of his career, breaking a tie with Gretzky for the most in NHL history.

Now 38, Ovechkin is back to producing like in previous years. Last spring, he became the first player in NHL history to record 40 goals in a season 13 times, and he was scoring in his mid- and late-30s like no one since Phil Esposito in the 1970s.

“He’s taking part in at an actual excessive degree,” Washington coach Spencer Carbery said. “I really feel like he is even skating a little bit bit extra. I really feel like there’s a little bit bit extra bounce in his step.”

Some of that jump seemed to be lacking before the break. As other elite athletes have found out, time remains undefeated, and hockey players rarely age gracefully.

With production not easy to come by on the team as a whole, the Capitals averaged just 2.3 goals through 46 games — third lowest in the league. Since Ovechkin’s goal streak started, they’re scoring 3.6 a game.

“It’s a constructive, constructive step as a result of we want him,” Carbery said. “These are constructive issues, and you may really feel him gaining extra confidence as every one goes in and as he will get on a little bit little bit of a roll.”

After an tried cross from Ovechkin to him led to a objective Sunday, longtime teammate T.J. Oshie smiled and mentioned, “It’s good to see the massive man rolling.” He then pointed out that this run isn’t about good fortune as much as Ovechkin playing a well-rounded style and reaping the benefits on the scoresheet.

“He’s additionally doing a whole lot of little issues that I feel are serving to us out defensively which might be resulting in offense and odd-man rushes,” Oshie said. “He’s coming again within the D-zone and stopping in space. It simply units our crew up for fulfillment when all 5 guys are doing that. It’s truthfully the stuff he is doing away from the puck that letting his pure, phenomenal capacity take over and begin placing some factors on the board.”

Ovechkin, who last season passed Gordie Howe for second on the career NHL goals list, said “it is a good factor” when he can put the puck in the net. That’s happening a lot, as this is his first five-game goal streak since March 2021.

“I attempt to do my job and simply play the suitable type of sport and be on the market and assist the crew to win,” Ovechkin mentioned.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.