Alex Ovechkin continued his quest for 700 goals with his third hat trick since January 16th in the Washington Capitals’ 4-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings.
He scored goals 696, 697 and 698 and reached the 40-goal milestone for the 11th time in his marvelous NHL career.
The captain single-handedly erased a one-goal third-period deficit with three consecutive goals over the span of four minutes and 24 seconds in the final seven minutes of the third period.
Ovechkin evened the score at 2-2 when he finished a feed from T.J. Oshie at 13:50 of the third period. Just 70 seconds later, the Russian forward collected a rebound from his own shot and gave the Capitals a one-goal lead.
He would complete the natural hat trick with an empty net tally from just inside his own blueline with less than two minutes remaining. It was Ovechkin’s 14th goal in the previous seven games as he marches toward the exclusive club.
The 34-year-old will eventually become the eighth player to score 700 in NHL history, joining Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Jaromir Jagr, Brett Hull, Marcel Dionne, Phil Esposito and Mike Gartner. Ovechkin also surpassed Maurice Richard for the eighth most hat tricks in NHL history after recording the 27th of his career.
While Ovechkin certainly has eyes on Gartner’s record of 708 goals, Gretzky’s iconic 894 total doesn’t seem that far-fetched. It is unrealistic Ovechkin keeps up the two goals a game pace he is currently on, but he has remained one of the most prolific offensive talents of this generation and has not showed many signs of slowing down.
Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.