Ovechkin ties Jagr with 766 goals, third in NHL history

CALGARY — Alex Ovechkin tied Jaromir Jagr for third in NHL history with goal No. 766 when the Washington Capitals forward scored twice in a 5-4 win against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday.

Ovechkin scored No. 765 at 13:23 of the second period with a wrist shot in the left face-off circle to tie it 2-2, and No. 766 into an empty net with 1:48 remaining in the third to give the Capitals a 5-3 lead.

“Obviously, it’s always nice to hear those kind of milestones, numbers,” Ovechkin said. “It’s pretty big, obviously, and how I always said, being with those names and in this company, it’s a pretty cool moment.”

The 36-year-old trails Gordie Howe (801) and Wayne Gretzky (894) for the most in NHL history.

Jagr also scored No. 766 at Calgary while playing for the Flames against the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 9, 2017.

“He’s a natural goal-scorer,” Jagr said of Ovechkin last month. “The game has changed a lot, and it’s for his good because he can keep up with the speed. He can keep up with the speed easily. He’s got a great shot. But a huge advantage for him is nobody, I mean nobody, is as strong as him. So he cannot be stopped if he doesn’t want to.”

Ovechkin nearly passed Jagr with two seconds left, but his shot toward the empty net was blocked by Calgary center Elias Lindholm.

“Yeah. I was hoping so, but it hit his skates,” Ovechkin said. “It’s OK. I’ll take it tomorrow.”

Capitals forward Nic Dowd thought he would get the third goal. 

“I couldn’t believe that one got blocked at the end, but it was awesome,” Dowd said. “Obviously, we’re super excited for him and guys are trying to find him all over the ice and just to be a part of it and simply watch it, he’s the best. So really happy for him.”

Teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov said he wasn’t aware of the significance of Ovechkin’s second goal. 

“I didn’t know actually when he scored that he was tying. I think the next one will be big for him,” Kuznetsov said. “I think that’s one of the first milestones he probably hit in the seven, eight games of playing with him that probably is pretty big for him.”

Video: WSH@CGY: Ovechkin nets career goal No. 765 to tie it

Dowd said the night was extra special because Ovechkin and forward Nicklas Backstrom were playing their 1,000th game as teammates.

“That was just another in the cap, just another special part of the story,” Dowd said. “To play a thousand games with the same guy, like some of us are just trying to get to 500 alone and these guys are putting together a thousand together. They’re one of the best duos in the world and they have been for a long time. So just happy to watch it.”

Ovechkin has scored 36 goals in 56 games this season. He passed Marcel Dionne for fifth (731) against the New York Rangers on Oct. 13, and Brett Hull for fourth (741) against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Nov. 12.

“I thought he was going to get the third one at the end,” Washington coach Peter Laviolette said. “He’s found his range on those. But I think he had a post or crossbar earlier in the game too and it didn’t bounce, but it’s nice to see him get a couple.

“I think guys are just excited for him; I don’t know if it’s get it out of the way. We don’t talk about it much. I think everybody knows what’s going on and it’s awesome to be a part of. It’s awesome to be in a game like that where he scores a couple goals. I don’t think it takes away from the game and what we’re trying to do out there. It’s just things are happening and the game’s happening and he’s able to find the back of the net. He’s moving up and he’s going to catch it eventually, but it really doesn’t cause much distraction in the room. The guys, everybody’s really happy for him. He deserves it. He’s earned it.”

Ovechkin has played 1,253 regular-season games during 17 seasons with Washington. Jagr played 1,733 NHL games during 24 seasons with nine teams, including 83 goals in 190 games for the Capitals (2001-04), and last played in the NHL for the Flames in 2017.

“It’s kind of fun,” Ovechkin said. “The guys are happy, I think the organization, pretty happy fans, my family. It’s a big moment.”

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