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Ovechkin Details Road To 802, Passing Howe: ‘It’s A Miracle’

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin reflected on scoring two goals to move past Gordie Howe for second on the NHL’s all-time goals list.



WASHINGTON — Still in full gear, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin steps into the locker room with his two sons, Sergei and Ilya, and hands them his two pucks for goals No. 801 and No. 802. Two pucks for his two sons, he figures, as he puts each on one knee and takes a picture to celebrate his latest milestone of passing Gordie Howe for second on the NHL's all-time goals list.

His two-goal game against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday finally saw Ovechkin hit the milestone, which had been a long time coming for the captain, who had been stuck at 800 for the last four games. He got to do it not just in front of fans, but his sons, his wife, Nastya, his brother, Mikhail and friends. His mother and father were watching from back home in Moscow, Russia.

"Very emotional," he said, adding, "It's special. They give me full support, and this is pretty big. It's a historic moment. It's nice to be in this category of players, it's pretty cool."

His 801st goal came on a wicked snapshot in the first period, ending a four-game scoring drought. It'd lifted a big weight off Ovechkin's — and the hockey world's — shoulders.

"I had chances in last game… I knew sooner or later, it was gonna come," Ovechkin said.

The Russian passed Howe with an empty netter in the final minute of regulation. He'd tried to pass to Evgeny Kuznetsov for the ENG but got right back from No. 92, who refused to steal that moment from him.

"It's the kind of situation where, if you have a chance to take it, you take it," Ovechkin said. "I give it to Kuzy and he's like, 'I don't want to take it.' But after that, it's special."

"Half of the world probably will be so mad at me," Kuznetsov added with a laugh.

Regardless of how it happened, it was a special moment for Ovechkin, who could have never imagined years ago, as a wide-eyed rookie who still had all of his teeth, that he would be chasing down Wayne Gretzky or smashing all-time records.

"You never thought it's going to happen when you came into the league, you're going to beat any Gordie Howe record or any Wayne Gretzky record or any record," Ovechkin revealed. "You felt like, 'Okay, maybe you're going to play in the NHL, you're going to be good and you're going to try to do your best.' But the whole situation happening right now it's a miracle. It's pretty special.

"Who knows who's going to score 800 goals next time?" he added later. "I hope someone. And I'm lucky enough to be able to stay healthy and be able to score so many goals. I want to say, first of all, thank you to all my teammates who play, coaches for the trust, for the opportunity, too, to be able to be out there in different situations. Without them, I would never reach those milestones and reach those numbers."

What's next for Ovechkin? He joked that he was going to go to the bar and go get nachos and a hot dog to celebrate the milestone, but in reality, he's going to find out where to put the milestone pucks at home and celebrate the holiday with his family. Then, it's back to business when the team returns from the break to take on the New York Rangers.

After he scored, Capital One Arena showed a tribute from Mark and Marty Howe on the jumbotron, who said that their father Gordie, if he were still alive, would be at that game and the first to shake his hand. And now, they all want him to do one more thing: go get 99.

"Step by step, guys," Ovechkin said warily, then smiled. "Still a long way. Right now, it's time to spend time with the family, just enjoy this moment."