Alex Ovechkin inched closer to 700 career goals, but the Washington Capitals fell in overtime against the Montreal Canadiens Thursday, 4-3.
The Capitals captain recorded his 699th career goal to open the scoring early in the first period, but Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot scored twice, including the game-winner after regulation.
The Pittsburgh Penguins took over the top spot in the Metropolitan Division earlier this week, and the Capitals’ recent slump could cost them home-ice advantage in the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Additionally, the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets and trail the Capitals by five points for second place in the division.
Shea Weber and Brendan Gallagher also scored for the Canadiens as they snapped a five-game losing streak. Carey Price made 29 saves in his 25th win of the season.
Capitals forward Tom Wilson evened the score in the final minute of the third period to force overtime and help Washington earn at least one point. The power forward jammed a puck past Price to give Ovechkin another shot at 700 in the extra session.
However, less than a minute into the three-on-three portion, Chiarot hammered a feed from Max Domi through the legs of Braden Holtby. The defenseman scored his first of the evening early in the third period when he wired a wrist shot from the high slot to give Montreal a 3-2 lead.
Ovechkin scored goal No. 699 to break a five-game streak without a point. No. 8 controlled a rolling puck after Nicklas Backstrom won a faceoff cleanly in the offensive zone, then fired a wrist shot past Price.
Weber knotted the game at 1-1 when he notched his 14th of the season late in the first period. The Canadiens captain was originally expected to miss 4-6 weeks due to an ankle injury but returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing only six games.
Ovechkin’s chase for 700 continues Saturday when the Capitals square off with the New Jersey Devils.
Ovechkin’s quest for 700:
- NHL Power Rankings: Ovechkin’s top 10 goals
- By the Numbers: Ovechkin’s 698 NHL goals
- Stunning Numbers as Alex Ovechkin closes in on 700 goals
- Can Alex Ovechkin break Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894 goals?
- My Favorite Goal: Ovechkin scores ‘The Goal’
Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.