Phil Esposito

Alex Ovechkin scores 700th goal with a blast

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He did it. Alex Ovechkin scored his 700th career goal on Saturday as the Capitals faced the Devils.

Ovechkin scored his historic goal from the opposite faceoff circle from his typical “office.” It was a significant goal, tying Washington 2-2 with New Jersey a few minutes into the third period. Ovechkin reaching his 700th goal with such gusto really adds to the experience.

(Watch video of Ovechkin scoring his 700th goal in the video above.)

Ovechkin makes history with 700th goal

It marks his second goal in as many games after sitting at 698 goals for five agonizing contests. Well, they were agonizing for those anxiously awaiting number 700. Ovechkin’s response was basically “Whatever.” Ovechkin scored 30 of his 700 career goals against the Devils.

Ovechkin joins an illustrious group including Wayne Gretzky (894), Gordie Howe (801), Jaromir Jagr (766), Brett Hull (741), Marcel Dionne (731), Phil Esposito (717) and Mike Gartner (708). Ovechkin became the second player to score 700+ goals with a single team, as Howe scored 786 with the Red Wings before continuing a hockey journey that eventually included playing alongside his sons.

Jagr was the most recent player to reach 700 on March 1, 2014.

Ovechkin scored goal No. 699 in an OT loss to the Canadiens after five straight games 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 Carey Price.

Ovechkin, 34, became the second youngest and fastest player (1144 games) to score 700 goals, trailing Gretzky who was 29 years old (886 games) when he scored his 700th in January 1991 as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

Earlier this month, Ovi also became only the second player to score 40 goals in 11 seasons, trailing Gretzky’s record of 12. Ovechkin now has 42 goals in 60 games this season, giving himself a shot at another Maurice Richard Trophy.

The Devils ended up beating the Capitals 3-2. Maybe Washington can get back on track now that Ovechkin got this 700th goal out of the way? Their struggles aren’t on Ovechkin, but the Caps are struggling as a team nonetheless. (They have to be pleased with Pittsburgh losing to the Sabres on Saturday, though.)

Ovechkin’s quest for 700th goal:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

The Buzzer: Pastrnak hat trick; Markstrom does Swede job honoring Sedin twins

Jacob Markstrom points to retired Sedin twins jerseys
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Three Stars

1. Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver Canucks

Consider this a 1a/1b situation with the player listed next. Really, though, it’s matter of taste.

Either way, Markstrom produced one heck of a performance. Markstrom managed a 49-save shutout after watching the Sedin twins’ retirement ceremony.

When you look at the Canucks’ 3-0 record, you might assume that Vancouver fed off the energy of that ceremony. If they did, they had a funny way of showing it. The Blackhawks managed a 49-20 shots on goal advantage, yet couldn’t beat Markstrom one time.

Markstrom stands out as rock for Vancouver, especially lately. In winning two games in a row, Markstrom stopped 85 out of 87 shots faced.

2. David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins

Again, this is a tough call. Pastrnak generated a hat trick on Wednesday, leading Boston to a helpful win against the hated Habs. “Pasta” now has two hat tricks against Montreal this season, and eight goals against the Canadiens in four games.

By scoring three goals, Pastrnak stands alone as the goals leader this season with 41.

That said, he got some help, particularly when Brad Marchand set the table for Pastrnak with a ludicrous display of skill.

3. Brandon Sutter, Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks faced off against the Blackhawks, and the Bruins prevailed. It really was a fitting jersey retirement night for the Sedins, eh?

Markstrom carried the Canucks on his back, but Sutter was involved in all three Vancouver goals. Sutter collected an empty-net goal and two assists. That included a primary assist on the game-winner. While the Flames squandered a chance to earn breathing room, Vancouver is in a solid position to win the Pacific.

Highlight of the Night

Marchand pounced on a turnover, bamboozled a bunch of Canadiens, then sent a tremendous assist to Pastrnak:

Sedin jerseys retired

This post has more on the speeches, appearances, and ribbing, but check out the Sedin ceremony here:

Factoids

  • Markstrom generated a 43-save shutout against Carolina on Dec. 12. Factoring in that, Markstrom became the first Canucks goalies to generate two 40+ save shutouts during the same season. Naturally, Markstrom drew attention to the Sedin twins when the crowd honored his big night. (NHL PR)
  • The Canucks note that Markstrom’s 49-save shutout is the most in franchise history.
  • Here is a fun side-by-side comparison of Henrik and Daniel Sedin from the league:

  • Pastrnak didn’t just jump into the Maurice Richard Trophy lead on Wednesday. Pastrnak joined Alex Ovechkin (tied for second at 40 goals) as the only two players with four hat tricks this season. The winger would need three more to match Phil Esposito’s seven from 1970-71 as the most in Bruins’ history, though. (NHL PR)
  • Hey, Pastrnak joined Ovechkin in another specific-yet-impressive category. Pastrnak and Ovechkin rank as the only active players to reach nine hat tricks (playoffs + regular season) before turning 24. “Pasta” has time to earn more, as he doesn’t turn 24 until May 25. Wayne Gretzky holds the overall record with a patently absurd 36. (NHL PR)

Scores

BOS 4 – MTL 1
LAK 5 – CGY 3
VAN 3 – CHI 0

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Video: Panthers’ Jagr ties Phil Esposito with his 717th career goal

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Jaromir Jagr opened the scoring for the Florida Panthers midway through the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening.

The goal was his first as a member of the Panthers and the 717th of his career tying him with Phil Esposito for fifth all-time.

Jagr is now 14 goals back of Marcel Dionne for fourth spot on the list.

Video: Jaromir Jagr scores 700th career goal

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Jaromir Jagr’s has another achievement to add to his future Hall of Fame career .

Jagr scored his 700th career goal to give the Devils a 2-0 lead in the first period against the New York Islanders. Jagr is the seventh player to reach the 700-goal plateau all-time and is now eight goals behind Mike Gartner for sixth all-time in goals scored.

It may not have been a highlight-reel type of goal for the 42-year-old winger from Kladno, but they all count the same when they beat the goalie. Check out Jagr’s milestone goal with the call from the Devils broadcast.

As for how the all-time goal scorers list looks, here’s the company Jagr is keeping.

  1. Wayne Gretzky – 894
  2. Gordie Howe – 801
  3. Brett Hull – 741
  4. Marcel Dionne – 731
  5. Phil Esposito – 717
  6. Mike Gartner – 708
  7. Jaromir Jagr – 700

 

Not a bad group to be associated with.

PHT Morning Skate: Where Phil Esposito is still hardcore about the Summit Series

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Phil Esposito sounds as if he could play the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union all over again right now. (Calgary Sun)

It must be Blake Wheeler day at the Winnipeg Sun, but Ken Wiebe has a great story about how Claude Noel lit a fire under him last season. (Winnipeg Sun)

Young forward Brett Connolly will get some needed time to work on his game in Syracuse in the AHL. (The Tampa Tribune)

Many Oilers forwards and prospects are eating it up in Europe already. Sure beats Seattle, right? Ahh, jokes. (Edmonton Journal)

Former Binghamton Senators coach Kurt Kleinendorst landed a new job as head coach the University of Alabama-Huntsville hockey team, replacing Chris Luongo. (The Huntsville Times)

Finally, check out Nikolay Zherdev’s goal for Atlant in the KHL. (KHL-YouTube)