With power and a prodigious shot, Alex Ovechkin now stands where few in the NHL have been.
He became the eight NHL player to score 700 career goals, reaching the milestone in the third period of the ’ Capitals’ 3-2 loss to the Devils on Saturday at Prudential Center.
“It’s a special moment,” Ovechkin said. “When you get closer you start thinking when it’s going to happen. Finally, it’s over so we don’t have to talk about it anymore. We’re going to move on.”
The 34-year-old Russian forward one-timed a slap shot from the right circle that went in off the left post 4:50 into the third period, tying the game at 2. It was his 42nd goal of the season, one behind Boston’s David Pastrnak for the league lead, and came on his second shot on goal of the game.
“It was obviously a matter of time, but that was a huge goal for us at the time,” said Todd Rierden, in his second season as Capitals coach after serving as an assistant the previous four. “Amazing to be able to watch it live and in person. To be able to go through the last six years with [Ovechkin] has been amazing to watch. Certainly a superstar in my time, the best goal-scorer that I’ve ever seen.”
Wayne Gretzky leads the career list with 894 goals. He is followed by Gordie Howe (801), Jaromir Jagr (766), Brett Hull (741), Marcel Dionne (731), Phil Esposito (717) and Mike Gartner (708).
Damon Severson scored the winning goal for last-place New Jersey with 1:59 left off a cross-ice pass from Nikita Gusev.
As for the Devils, they may have finally found a winning formula in this poor season. Just put Mackenzie Blackwood in goal.
Blackwood made 36 saves in winning his fifth straight start.
Blackwood downplays the success, saying his teammates are playing well and he had benefited working with goaltending coach Rollie Melanson.
“He’s pretty technically great, so he’s helped me out a lot,” said Blackwood, who is 6-0-1 in his last seven starts. “Helped me with my game and I think as of late, I’ve been fortunate that we’ve been getting the results, so I don’t think anything will change.”
During his winning streak, Blackwood has allowed five goals and posted two shutouts.
“Blackie made some big saves when it was 1-0 (San Jose) to keep it tight,” Devils interim coach Alain Nasreddine said.