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Ovechkin secures record 18th 30-goal season with late-season surge


Despite posting just nine goals in the first 44 games of the season, Alex Ovechkin hit the 30-goal mark once again with his game-winner against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. 

Ovechkin is the first player in NHL history to record 18 30-goal seasons. He was previously tied with Hall of Fame forward Mike Gartner at 17. 

The 38-year-old winger has fallen short of the mark just once over his 19-year career, when he finished with 24 in the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season. 

“It’s pretty big," he said of the record Tuesday. "It’s consistency. Obviously, health. And, my linemates continue to find me out there.”

Ovechkin's surge in goals has timed up with team success for the Capitals. With the Great 8 owning just nine goals, Washington sat seven points out of a playoff spot on Feb. 5. After Tuesday's 2-1 win, the Capitals hold the final wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Red Wings, who are both equal in games played. 

Ovechkin's 30th goal came with just eight seconds left in the second period, with the Capitals eventually holding on for a crucial 2-1 win. 

“We all understand the importance of the game and importance of those points,” Ovechkin said. “We fight for playoffs.”

The future Hall of Famer has 21 goals over the past 31 games, allowing to also significantly close the gap on Wayne Gretzky on the all-time goal-scoring list. Ovechkin is now 42 goals back of the Great One with two seasons left on his contract at an annual cap hit of $9.5 million as he chases the record. 

The Capitals have four games left their schedule as they attempt to lock down their playoff spot, the first of which comes Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres.