WASHINGTON, D.C. — Alex Ovechkin went from being a game-time decision to making more NHL history on Wednesday night.
The Washington Capitals star scored twice in the team’s 5-1 victory over the New York Rangers, giving him 732 career goals in 1,198 games. Those goals moved him past Hockey Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne and into sole possession of fifth place all-time in NHL career goals.
The 36-year-old captain was questionable for the Capitals’ home opener with a lower-body injury he sustained in their preseason finale. But Ovechkin participated in a full practice on Wednesday, increasing the likelihood he would play.
Ovechkin’s first goal came at 2:37 of the third period on the power play. He drove to the Rangers’ net as a puck deflected off of Capitals forward Anthony Mantha‘s chest and fell to the ice. Ovechkin batted the bouncing puck past goalie Alexandar Georgiev for his first goal of the season, tying Dionne.
It was his 270th career power-play goal, trailing only Dave Andreychuk (274) for the most in NHL history.
His second goal was a shorthanded tally. He sped past Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller and and flipped the puck on his backhand past Georgiev for goal No. 732.
At the next stoppage of play, the scoreboard at Capital One Arena showed Ovechkin moving up the career goals leaderboard and played a video message from Dionne congratulating Ovechkin on “your incredible achievement,” adding “I knew you were going to pass me.”
The crowd roared and Ovechkin stood at the bench to salute them.
The tallies moved Ovechkin closer to the ultimate goal: Breaking Wayne Gretzky’s all-time career goals mark of 894.
Next up on the goals list for Ovechkin: Hockey Hall of Famer Brett Hull with 741 goals.