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Lightning Round: Alex Ovechkin hits 800

And the Lightning win again

Washington Capitals v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Prior to last night there were only two people who could claim to have scored 800 goals in the NHL, Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe. This morning, there are three. Alex Ovechkin became the third member of the most exclusive club in professional hockey, and he did it in style. The Great Eight scored not one, not two, but three goals to hit the 800 goal mark in the Washington Capitals 7-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

It’s been a rather steady climb to 800 throughout his career.

The three goals also pulls him within one goal of tying Howe for second all-time in the league. Once he passes Mr. Hockey, there will only be one name above him on the all-time goals list - Wayne Gretzky. He’s currently 94 behind the Great One, and with the way he’s scoring, what was once impossible now seems inevitable. The 37-year-old has 20 goals in 31 games this season and should hit 40 goals for the 13th time in his career.

For the record, Gordie How hit the mark on February 29th, 1980 against Mike Liut. He was 51-years-old at the time and it was his 14th goal of the season. Gretzky’s 800th goal came on March 20th, 1994 against Artus Irbe and the San Jose Sharks. He also scored his 801st goal in the same game. He was just 33-years-old at the time, no wonder he was able to score almost 100 more, although that was the last season he scored over 30 goals (he had 38).

It will probably take Ovechkin at least two more seasons after this one to hit the mark, but based on his health, and the fact that there shouldn’t be any work stoppages in the short term future, there is a good chance he hits the mark some time in his age 40 season.

In case you were wondering, here is his first goal, from back in October of 2005

Lightning / NHL News

Lightning beat Kraken, 6-2 [Raw Charge]

Team effort, strong goaltending, whatever. The only thing we’re going to remember from this game is Brayden Point stealing Adam Larssen’s soul.

Let’s talk about this goal for a minute. First off, it wouldn’t have happened without Point’s ability to control the puck at his top speed. When he’s exiting the Lightning zone he only has a step on Ryan Donato (9). By the time he gets the puck he’s pulled away by at least three strides.

The key to the play is that Nikita Kucherov doesn’t pass the puck to Point. Instead he puts it into an open space that Point can skate into it. Still, at this point it’s basically one-on-three. Andre Burakovsky (95) seems to think he can stick check him at the blue line while Larssen (6) seems to be in good position to slow him up while Vince Dunn (29) can close in and shut it down.

Burakovsky is reduced to reaching out with his stick after two strides. Dunn offers a half-hearted sweep check. Meanwhile Larssen still thinks he has things under control. The next thing he knows he’s grasping at smoke as Point pulls the puck threw him. That’s a good move as it spins the veteran around and takes him out of the play.

A lot of players make that move, but can’t control things because they’re moving at top speed and rapidly running out of real estate. Not only that, but the puck is now on Point’s backhand. Backhand shots are not easy, the puck tends to spin off the edge instead of laying on the stick. In this case he’s able to elevate it and sneak it inside the far post. There wasn’t much Phillipp Grubauer could do, all things considered he had the net pretty covered.

“I don’t think people understand how hard of a shot that was either, with the backhand. It was beautiful,” said Victor Hedman after the game.

“He’s an elite player and you watched him do an elite thing,” was Coach Cooper’s analysis.

As for the celebration, “We had a tough power play and we heard a little bit of the boo birds and then, ya know, a little back and forth with the fans. I wanted to hear the cheers.”

Not a perfect 10 [Raw Charge]

Despite some reinforcements from the Syracuse Crunch, the Orlando Solar Bears had a bit of a rough week. At least Jaydon Dureau picked up his first career professional goal. On to better things this week!

Tyler Johnson scores in return to action [Yahoo News]

It’s been a rough season for old friend Tyler Johnson as he’s appeared in just 7 games this season. His return to the Chicago line-up was overshadowed by someone on the visiting team (see above) but after missing 20 games, Johnson found the back of the net for his third goal of the season. Hopefully, some of those injuries are now in the past and he can finish out the season. He’s only 26 points away from 400 for his career.

Bo Horvat issues statement [CBC]

With the trade rumors swirling around the pending unrestricted free agent, Hovart issued a statement that pretty much says he doesn’t want to talk about it. His focus is on this year and won’t be commenting on the future any longer.

Bettman: Salary Cap may only raise by $1 million [ESPN]

There was some talk earlier in the year that the salary cap may bump up by as much as $4 million next season as the escrow debts appear to be getting paid off quicker than expected. At the board of governors meeting, Uncle Gary tempered expectations a bit stating that the cap may only go up $1 million.

What does it sound like when you score 800 goals? Ovi lets us know: