If it weren’t for winning a Stanley Cup, this might have stood as the most memorable week* of Alex Ovechkin‘s career. Ovechkin tied and then passed Mark Messier for eighth all-time in goal-scoring on Friday. Ovechkin scored two goals to reach 695 for his career as the Capitals beat the Senators 5-3.
Ovechkin ties Messier with goal 694
Ovechkin extended his current goal streak to five games during the second period. Rather than being the Ovechkin goal you can picture in your sleep, he scored this from the opposite faceoff circle.
Ovechkin passes Messier, stands alone at eighth with goal 695
The Ovechkin didn’t need long to break that tie with Messier. He iced Washington’s win with an empty-netter. Watch both goals below:
Again, this caps quite a week for Ovechkin. Ovechkin mourned Kobe Bryant’s passing on Wednesday by wearing number 24 during warm-ups. During that same game, Ovechkin tied then passed Steve Yzerman for ninth all-time in scoring.
Yzerman provided some fun fodder following Ovechkin pushing him down the ranks, asking to be invited to the party if Ovechkin breaks the all-time goals record (894 by Wayne Gretzky, of course).
Messier praised Ovechkin’s skill in spirit in congratulating “The Great 8” on moving to eighth.
With @ovi8 passing him on the all-time goals list, Mark Messier shows his appreciation for what the @Capitals captain brings to the table. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/9VjlHPzoJO
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 1, 2020
People get tempted to only look in the past when a player piles up milestone like Ovechkin is right now. Yet, Ovechkin’s sniping remains relevant in the present. His two goals push him to 37 on the season. Being that David Pastrnak came into Friday with the league lead at 37, Ovechkin also eyes another possible Maurice Richard Trophy. When you consider the past and present, is there any sense in doubting Ovechkin?
Beyond that race, Ovechkin also eyes 700 goals and Mike Gartner at seventh (708). The Capitals have 30 regular-season games remaining in 2019-20, so don’t be shocked if he reaches both of those marks this season.
* – Then again, Ovechkin might not remember much from that time, considering how hard he partied.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.