NHL

Ovechkin in 'pretty good company' after joining NHL's 700 goal club

By Sports Desk February 22, 2020

An understated Alex Ovechkin said he had joined "pretty good company" after becoming the eighth player in NHL history to score 700 goals.

The Washington Capitals captain reached the milestone with a slap shot in the third period of his team's 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

Ovechkin, 34, had gone five games without a goal before scoring his 699th in an overtime defeat against the Montreal Canadiens earlier in the week.

He follows Wayne Gretzky (894), Gordie Howe (801), Jaromir Jagr (766), Brett Hull (741), Marcel Dionne (731), Phil Esposito (717) and Mike Gartner (708) into the 700 club.

"When you get closer, you think about when it's going to happen," Ovechkin told reporters.

"I knew even if I didn't score today, we still had 20 games [left in the season]. It's pretty good company. I'm happy to be here.

"But we have to focus on different things. Right now, it's important points for us and tomorrow is going to be a big game [against the Pittsburgh Penguins]. I don't think the team was thinking about it too much."

Ovechkin, a Stanley Cup winner in 2018 and three-time league MVP, is in his 15th season with the Capitals, the team that drafted him with the first overall pick in 2014.

Legendary all-time leading goal scorer Gretzky tipped the Russian to eventually challenge him for top spot.

"I'm a big believer that records are made to be broken," the Canadian told the NHL's official website.

"What I accomplished, I'm very proud of. It's hard to do what I did and it's really hard to do what he's doing now. But there's no question in my mind that he has a real legitimate chance of doing it."

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