Ovechkin resumes chase of NHL goals record with Capitals

ARLINGTON, Va. — Alex Ovechkin‘s method regarded acquainted as he settled into an open area at the left facet of the penalty space, gained a backheel cross and powered the ball with his left foot previous the goalkeeper and within the some distance put up.

Having watched the video of Ovechkin’s offseason football exploits on-line, Washington Capitals trainer Peter Laviolette noticed, “That was typical Alex, scoring a goal.”

“We should probably count it,” Laviolette mentioned. 

For Ovechkin, enjoying on a one-game contract for FC Dynamo Moscow, the Russian Premier League staff his father Mikhail performed for prior to an damage minimize his occupation quick, and scoring a target in a pleasant towards FC Amkal in Moscow on June 25, was once “a dream come true.” But clearly, the target does now not depend towards Ovechkin’s NHL target general, which stays 780.

The 37-year-old left wing will start his 18th NHL season when Washington hosts the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; TNT, SN NOW) wanting 21 goals to catch Gordie Howe, who’s 2d in NHL historical past with 801, and 114 in the back of Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894. Ovechkin is seven goals from breaking Howe’s NHL record for many with one staff of 786, which he scored throughout 25 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings (1946-1971) prior to an extra 15 after returning to the League with the Hartford Whalers in 1979-80. 

Ovechkin is not involved in information at the eve of every other season opener, despite the fact that.

“You just want to get to the games,” he mentioned. “Right now, for us, every point is very important. We’re going to try to win every game. Our goal is to make the (Stanley Cup Playoffs) and it starts from there.”

Ovechkin said that his first 17 seasons with the Capitals, who decided on him with the No. 1 pick out within the 2004 NHL Draft, have long gone through in a blink.

“I still can’t believe it,” he mentioned. “Time flies.”

Video: Can Alex Ovechkin cross Wayne Gretzky in goals?

Ovechkin’s pleasure for opening evening has now not lowered. Like in his NHL debut towards the Columbus Blue Jackets to open the 2005-06 season, Ovechkin scored two goals within the season opener towards the New York Rangers final season to start out his NHL record-tying 9th 50-goal season.

Along the way in which, Ovechkin handed Marcel Dionne (731 goals), Brett Hull (741) and Jaromir Jagr (766) to climb from 6th to 3rd at the NHL goals record. His 90 issues final season (50 goals, 40 assists) have been his maximum since he had 109 in 2009-10.  

“I felt like he did a good job the whole year to be in good shape and stay motivated,” heart Evgeny Kuznetsov mentioned. “He’s chasing a pretty big thing, even if he doesn’t talk about it. Nobody mentions it, but it’s big for him, and that’s a big motivation.”

Although Ovechkin’s pursuit of Howe and Gretzky is not mentioned with him, each participant within the Capitals locker room is mindful of the historical past he is chasing. Connor Brown will make his Washington debut subbing for the injured Tom Wilson (torn anterior cruciate ligament in left knee) at the most sensible line with Ovechkin and Kuznetsov. He’s looking to wrap his thoughts round skating at the reverse wing from a participant last in on 800 goals.

“I have thought about it,” mentioned Brown, received in a business with the Ottawa Senators on July 13. “It’s pretty wild. He’s a great guy. It’s just fun to play with him, simple as that. It’s a pretty cool opportunity.”

A common rapid starter, Ovechkin scored 10 goals in his first 10 video games final season, the 3rd time in 5 seasons he required 11 video games or fewer to succeed in 10 goals.

“You just have to use your chances when you get them,” Ovechkin mentioned of key to his rapid begins. “If it’s not going your way, you have to keep working.”

Video: Alex Ovechkin at No. 10 on NHL Network’s countdown

The Capitals wanted Ovechkin’s robust get started final season with heart Nicklas Backstrom lacking the primary 28 video games whilst recuperating from a left hip damage. Ovechkin had 44 issues (20 goals, 24 assists) to assist Washington move 17-5-6 in the ones 28 video games.

With Backstrom (recuperating from resurfacing surgical procedure on his hip) and Wilson out to start out this season, the Capitals want Ovechkin to lift his play once more, alongside with Kuznetsov, who had 30 issues (9 goals, 21 assists) within the first 28 video games final season.

“Yeah, the responsibility is on us, but lots of guys have to respond as well,” Ovechkin mentioned. “There are new guys coming into our organization and they have to step up as well.”

Washington added Brown and Dylan Strome, who signed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract July 14, in part to assist fill the void whilst Backstrom and Wilson are out. But it will be no marvel if Ovechkin and Kuznetsov cleared the path once more.

“They’ve been pretty consistent with their game for a long time,” Laviolette mentioned. “‘O’ has scored a lot of goals every year, not just last year. He’s scored big goals every year.”

In addition to attaining 50 goals for the 9th time final season (and changing into the oldest NHL participant to attain 50), Ovechkin was once the 7th participant in NHL historical past with 17 consecutive 20-goal seasons, moved inside one of Mike Gartner’s record with his sixteenth 30-goal season and tied Gretzky’s NHL record with his twelfth 40-goal season.

Ovechkin contributes his scoring consistency to, “My linemates and the situations out there.” 

“Sometimes you have luck,” he mentioned. “Lots of things have to go your way.”

When it involves scoring goals, issues ceaselessly move Ovechkin’s approach, whether or not it is at the ice or a football pitch. He preferred that his target for FC Dynamo Moscow got here from the left facet, reminiscent of how he is scored such a lot of of his NHL goals from across the left circle.

“It was a cool moment,” Ovechkin mentioned. “My family enjoyed it, lots of fans enjoyed it and it was a highlight of the night.”

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