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Ovechkin hits 20-goal mark for 19th straight season as Capitals douse Flames

Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin - The Canadian Press

CALGARY — Alex Ovechkin became the third player in NHL history to score 20 goals in 19 consecutive seasons on Monday.

The veteran Washington forward scored two power-play goals in the second period to lead the Capitals to a 5-2 victory over the Calgary Flames.

"Consistency. Not just from the scoring part but also him being in the lineup and being durable and him being able to play game after game after game all these years,” said Washington coach Spencer Carbery.

“We needed every single bit of those two goals tonight to get us in front and to be able to play from in front because you could tell early on we had zero legs and mentally some of the puck decisions, plays, it was uncharacteristic."

Gordie Howe (22 straight seasons) and Brendan Shanahan (19 straight seasons) are the only others to achieve the impressive scoring feat.

“There's not many things that hasn't been said about him, but he keeps doing it, even at age 38. It's fun to be a part of, fun to watch,” said Dylan Strome, who scored the opening goal.

Ovechkin's 20th goal made it 2-0 at 5:58 of the second. Ovechkin went to the net where he neatly deflected in a hard centring pass from Max Pacioretty. After pumping his arms in celebration, Ovechkin immediately looked over at his teammate and pointed, acknowledging the terrific pass.

Just over three minutes later, Washington's red-hot power play struck again, this time it was vintage Ovechkin. Set up at the top of the faceoff circle, stick cocked. When John Carlson slid a pass across, Ovechkin leaned into a one-time slapper that went off the stick of Rasmus Andersson and past rookie goaltender Dustin Wolf.

“That's a hell of a hockey player over there. He had a couple of good chances. But it's pretty cool to say you stopped a few,” said Wolf.

Ovechkin has 12 goals in 20 games since the NHL all-star break after scoring just nine times in 44 games before that.

Up to 843 goals for his career, second all time, Ovechkin is now 51 behind Wayne Gretzky's record.

"We're all cheering for him,” said Hendrix Lapierre, who also had a goal for the visitors. “It was two really big goals tonight, too. We're just super happy for him and we're just trying to help him in this chase. He's looking pretty damn good. He was the spark we needed tonight.”

Tom Wilson (empty-netter) also scored for Washington (33-25-9). The Capitals, with their third straight win, moved into the second wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference, one point up on the idle Detroit Red Wings.

"We know it's not going to be easy. We keep fighting, keep playing,” said Ovechkin. “We still can do it. We're still in the battle. Every point counts.”

It's the first time the Capitals have occupied a playoff spot since Jan. 2.

Kevin Rooney and MacKenzie Weegar scored for Calgary (33-30-5). The Flames finished 2-2-0 on their four-game home stand.

“Special teams got beat tonight and you saw that on the scoreboard,” said Rooney, whose goal was his first in 17 games. “We've got a game plan in place and we've just got to execute it. It's on the penalty kill guys have to do a better job, myself right up there.”

Washington went 2-for-3 with the man advantage while Calgary was 0-for-3.

“I don't think we did a good enough job special team-wise. For me, that was the difference in the game,” said Calgary coach Ryan Huska. “Both our power play in not generating anything for us, but also giving them momentum, and our penalty kill did that, too.”

Washington goalie Charlie Lindgren continued his sharp play of late making 34 stops to improve to 18-11-5. Lindgren has won five of his last six while fashioning a .956 save percentage.

After allowing three goals on 67 shots in winning his previous two outings, Wolf's third consecutive start didn't go as well as the rookie allowed four goals on 32 shots. His record falls to 3-4-1.

The Capitals have been aided in their playoff chase by a rejuvenated power play. On Jan. 18, Washington was third-worst in the league on the man advantage at 13.3 per cent. Over the past two months, it's been third-best at 29.1 per cent.


Facing Dustin Wolf for the first time, Ovechkin has goals against 174 different goalies, which is third behind Jaromir Jagr (178) and Patrick Marleau (177). He has multi-goal games against 94 different goalies, which is the most in history. Gretzky (89) ranks second.


Jacob Markstrom (lower body) is back skating and coach Huska said he could return to action as soon as this weekend. The veteran Flames goaltender has missed the last five games.


Capitals: Open a four-game home stand on Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Flames: Visit the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2024.