Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin Passes Gordie Howe for 2nd on NHL All-Time Goals List

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 24, 2022

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates his goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets, Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, in Washington. This was Ovechkin's 801st NHL goal. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
AP Photo/Nick Wass

Alexander Ovechkin has put together one of the most distinguished careers in NHL history, and he added another milestone to his collection Friday.

The 37-year-old scored his 801st and 802nd career goals during the Washington Capitals' 4-1 home win against the Winnipeg Jets at Capital One Arena, tying and then passing the legendary Gordie Howe for second on the NHL's all-time scoring list.

Ovechkin gave the Caps a 1-0 lead with a snap shot at the top of the right faceoff circle in the first period before adding an empty-netter late in the third to grab second place by himself and cap the evening's scoring.

B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

GOAL #801. OVI TIES GORDIE HOWE FOR SECOND ALL-TIME 🚨 <a href="https://t.co/TDMnwSWvYL">pic.twitter.com/TDMnwSWvYL</a>

B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

2nd place all-time in NHL goals now solely belongs to Alex Ovechkin 🏆<br><br>Legendary stuff 👏 <a href="https://t.co/bm1TiiSLle">pic.twitter.com/bm1TiiSLle</a>

Ovechkin now trails only Wayne Gretzky, who scored 894 goals in his career. Gretzky is also the all-time leader in assists with 1,963, over 700 more than the next-closest player in the category, Ron Francis (1,249).

Ovechkin won't be getting anywhere near either player in that category, with just 649 in his career.

As for whether he might catch Gretzky in goals, it's still a possibility. He's under contract with the Capitals through the 2025-26 season and has scored 46 or more goals in a campaign 12 times in his career, including 50 last year and 20 through 35 games this season heading into Friday.

It isn't out of the question that Ovechkin might catch Gretzky during his current contract. Granted, at some point, the Russian is going to slow down. And he may simply choose to retire before mounting a serious push for the all-time goals record.

One thing is for certain: If he does catch the Great One, that will be all she wrote for Ovechkin's career.

"You're probably never going to see me on the ice again," he joked during an ESPN interview in 2019 when asked what he would do if he surpassed Gretzky's record (h/t NHL.com). "Right away. See ya."