Ovechkin now alone in sixth in NHL scorers

WASHINGTONAlex ovechkin passed Phil Esposito to settle alone as the sixth-highest scorer in NHL history, when he scored his 718th goal in the game between the Washington Capitals and the New York Islanders on Tuesday.

“It’s historic. Those are great stats and I’m happy to be in this category, said Ovechkin. But we must move forward. It is done. It’s historic. It was a very good game, we got some big points and the numbers are obviously impressive. « 

During a commercial break after the goal, a video of Esposito was shown on the scoreboard.

“I want to say congratulations to you,” said the former NHL star. You’re a fantastic player, and I don’t know how you score all those goals with the way players block shots. Good luck. Keep it that way, but not against the Lightning. « 

Ovechkin scored his 12th goal of the season on a power play at 3:24 pm of the second period. As he has so often done, he unleashed a powerful shot on reception from the left circle to move the ropes. Justin schultz and Nicklas Backstrom got an assist on the game.

« The way to score – a receiving shot, a wrist shot, a deflection – doesn’t matter, a goal is a goal, » Ovechkin said. The feeling of scoring is always pleasant. […] Good work from ‘Nicky’ and ‘Schultzy’ to get the puck moving. I just have to shoot the target. « 

It was the 268th time Backstrom has amassed an assist on an Ovechkin goal. The two accomplices have been teammates since Backstrom joined the NHL in 2007-08.

 » We [avons commencé] together to build that relationship and that chemistry, and we love [jouer] together, argued Ovechkin. And I think we all understand how we have to play and, if we have that enthusiasm, we will have fun. It’s hard to stop, especially when Nicky has the puck and he’s flying over the ice. It’s nice to see. I just have to stand out and try to send the puck to the back of the net. It’s nice to play with him, he’s one of the best. « 

Video: NYI @ WSH: Ovechkin overtakes Esposito with his 718th goal

Ovechkin hit the 718-goal plateau in 1,177 games over 16 NHL seasons with the Capitals, who made him the No. 1 pick in the 2004 Draft. Esposito needed 1,282 games in 18 seasons to reach the 717 mark. goals, before retiring in 1981 after a career with the Chicago Black Hawks, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers.

“My answer is quite simple: we see him score year after year. It’s so impressive, Backstrom said after the game. It’s just nice to see the way he throws, the way he hits the target and the way he plays. As a teammate, you enjoy every moment.  »

Ovechkin also became the 35th player in League history to reach the 1,300-point milestone (718 goals, 583 assists) in his career. Before scoring his historic goal, he had reached the mark by collecting an assist on the goal of TJ Oshie at 10:36 am of the middle period.

Only five players have moved the strings more often than Ovechkin in NHL history: Marcel Dionne (731), Brett Hull (741), Jaromir Jagr (766), Gordie Howe (801) and Wayne Gretzky (894) . Ovechkin is 13 goals behind Dionne, who played 1,348 games in 18 seasons with the Los Angeles Kings and Rangers before retiring in 1989.

Ovechkin, who has scored one goal in each of his last four games, and one in five of his last six outings, has 23 points in 25 games this season. The Washington captain had missed four games after being placed on COVID-19 protocol from Jan.20-29.

« The start of the year was not perfect for him arriving late to start the season and then being in confinement, » said Capitals coach Peter Laviolette. Regardless, he has continued to generate attacking and scoring opportunities, and it seems like goals have come more regularly lately. « 

Last season, Ovechkin finished for first in NHL scorers, tied with David Pastrnak of the Bruins, with 48 goals in 68 games. The Moscow native got his hands on the Maurice-Richard Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL’s top scorer, nine times since the start of his career. He is currently nine nets behind on Auston matthews (21) and the top scorers in the NHL this season.

“He’s such a good maverick,” noted Islanders coach Barry Trotz, who coached Ovechkin for four seasons with the Capitals (2014-18). “I said of him that he was probably the greatest scorer of all time because there is no one like him physically. No one can pitch like him. So he is dangerous every time he is on the ice. « 

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