Russian ice hockey icon Alexander Ovechkin gained further ground on the legendary Gordie Howe in the NHL’s all-time top scorer rankings on Sunday.
At the Canada Life Centre, Ovechkin got his 17th goal of the season during a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets, which was the Washington Capitals’ fourth straight victory.
Assisted by his countryman Dmitry Orlov, Ovechkin scored his team’s fifth and final goal with 17:48 down on the clock in the third period.
In turn, he made sure he is just five goals shy of passing Howe, who is second on the NHL’s all-time list with 801 goals.
Beyong Howe, Ovechkin will still have some way to go to reach the number one spot occupied by Wayne Gretzky, who retired in 1999 on 894 goals.
In the meantime, Ovechkin’s opponents have become resigned to the fact that the Capitals’ left winger and captain will have opportunities to get on the scoresheet.
“For the most part, I thought we kept [Ovechkin] at bay,” claimed Jets defenseman Neal Pionk post-game.
“He got the empty net but for the most part, we kept him at bay.
“He’s going to get his chances. He’s going to get his shots,” Pionk added.
Aged 37, Ovechkin could face a tall order to catch up with Gretzky’s overall tally, but he has the better of the Canadian in some aspects of the game such as the most road goals.
He achieved this feat in late November by scoring his 402nd and 403rd road goals in a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks in late November.
The Capitals head on the road for their next game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.
After that, they go home to host the Dallas Stars and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday and Saturday, before the Detroit Red Wings meet them in the US capital on December 19.