WASHINGTON — Walking into the locker room to the interlude of Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise," Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin smiled wide as he was greeted with applause and cheers from his teammates after scoring two goals to pass Gordie Howe for second on the NHL's all-time goals list in a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
"Me?" he laughed, with some nerves and emotion spilling over into his innocent question.
Ovechkin then stood up to thank his teammates for their support.
"How I always said, without you guys, I would never have had accomplished those numbers," Ovechkin said. "It’s pretty special."
After that, Ovechkin got a bit choked up and was at a loss for words for a moment before continuing.
"I’m gonna cry right now," he said, rubbing his eye before adding, "I love you guys. Thank you much.”
READ MORE ON WHN: Washington Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin Reacts To Passing Gordie Howe
Marcus Johansson, who got the team's victory rope following his overtime winner on Thursday, then gave the rope to Ovechkin, who then took part in the traditional grip strength test.
It was an emotional night for the 37-year-old, who had his parents watching the game at home in Moscow while his wife, Nastya, brother, Mikhail, and two sons, Sergei and Ilya, were in attendance at Capital One Arena. He scored No. 801 to tie Howe at the 18:22 mark of the first period on a quick snap shot that beat David Rittich. His 802nd goal came on an empty netter with a minute left in regulation.
After the game, Ovechkin had Sergei and Ilya hold his 801 and 802 goal pucks for the milestone photo.
"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 said postgame. "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.