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Alex Ovechkin 1,000-point watch: One more to go

Alex Ovechkin 1,000-point watch: One more to go

Alex Ovechkin tied Canadiens legend Maurice “Rocket” Richard for 29th on the all-time goals list Monday night in Montreal.

The Capitals’ captain also put himself on the doorstep of a significant milestone.

With a goal and two assists in the Capitals’ 4-1 victory at Bell Centre, Ovechkin now stands at 999 career points.

And the best part of it all? He’ll get the chance to add the comma Wednesday night in front of a frenzied crowd at Verizon Center, on national television.

And, oh yeah, the rival Pittsburgh Penguins will be in town.

“He got real close to that 1,000th point,” Coach Barry Trotz told reporters in Montreal. “It’s right that he gets [a chance to get] it done in Washington in front of our own fans.”

Asked what the milestone means to him, Ovechkin cracked: “It means I’m getting older. I just remember my first year, my first game. It’s like it was five minutes ago. Time move forward and time move quick. So you have to enjoy every second of [every] moment. And when you have an opportunity, you have to try and do something special.”

RELATED: Holtby outshines Price in brilliant win over Habs

When Ovechkin gets there, he’ll become the 84th player to reach the 1,000 point plateau and just the fourth Russian-born player to accomplish the feat, joining Sergei Fedorov (1,179), Alexander Mogilny (1,032) and Alexei Kovalev (1,029).

Playing in his favorite road venue Monday, Ovechkin inched ever closer to that exclusive club .

The 31-year-old earned his 997th point with a primary assist on Nicklas Backstrom’s first period goal. He snagged 998 with a primary assist on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s third period strike, which ultimately proved to be the game-winner.

Then, on a late power play, Ovechkin earned point No. 999 on a power play goal that he whipped past Carey Price from the circle. The tally was Ovi’s 19th on the season and the 544th of his career, pulling him even with The Rocket while simultaneously salting the away Washington’s sixth straight win.

Ovechkin owns six Rocket Richard Trophies, the award given to the NHL’s leading goal scorer each season, the award he's claimed four years running.

“It’s nice to be in history,” he said. “It’s nice to be tied with a legend. I still have lots of years to go and I’m going to try and do my best.”

Trotz added: “Watching Ovi’s goal to tie The Rocket, [it was] an exceptional shot. There’s not too many guys on this planet that can let that release go the way he did. He beat Carey Price…that was a wrist shot that had some juice on it.”

When reporter asked Nicklas Backstrom about witnessing so many of Ovechkin's goals, the Swede jumped in and joked, “You want to hear about them? All of them?”

Backstrom then turned serious and added, “He can score from everywhere. I think that’s what makes him so special. And he’s got that special wrist shot, too. It’s fun to see. It’s exciting to play with him.”

The Caps will get Tuesday off to regroup after a two-game trip north of the border. And then the watch for #Ovech1Kin, as the team’s website has dubbed it, will be on high alert in Chinatown.

“He needs one more and then we’re going to celebrate a little, for sure, because that’s huge for the whole organization and, obviously, for all our country,” Kuznetsov said.

MORE CAPITALS: What makes Ovi so special? 'He can score from everywhere'

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Caps look to avoid slump after tough loss to Penguins

Caps look to avoid slump after tough loss to Penguins

Regardless of what you thought of the officiating on Monday, the Caps’ nine-game win streak is over and now the team needs to move on. But for a team coming off a lengthy win streak, however, that can be easier said than done.

Teams that put together long streaks as the Caps have tend to struggle after the streak is finally broken. Take for example the Columbus Blue Jackets who came just one win shy of tying the NHL record for the longest streak with 16-straight wins. Since then, however, the Blue Jackets have lost four of their last six.

The fall has been even harder for Philadelphia who have managed a record of only 3-8-3 since winning 10 straight over the course of November and December.

That is a trend Washington will now look to avoid, though Barry Trotz doesn’t sound too concerned.

“There’s bounce back in our game,” Trotz said on Monday after the loss. “I have a lot of trust in this group. We’re a veteran group.”

That was evident on Monday. Washington had to battle back from a two-goal deficit twice just to force overtime and salvage a point against Pittsburgh and that was seeing a 3-0 lead evaporate in the wake of five-straight Penguins goals.

Now Trotz hopes the same resiliency and leadership he saw late against Pittsburgh will help the team avoid a letdown.

“I have a lot of faith in the group that they are good enough to respond after a little bit of adversity,” he said. “We’ve got lots of good leaders on the team.”

MORE CAPITALS: JUSTIN WILLIAMS CALLS THE CAPS' LOSS 'A REALITY CHECK'

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Capitals send Chandler Stephenson back to Hershey after brief call-up

Capitals send Chandler Stephenson back to Hershey after brief call-up

The Capitals have re-assigned forward Chandler Stephenson to AHL Hershey after a brief call-up to the NHL, the team announced Tuesday.

Stephenson, 22, was recalled on Saturday as a precaution and was a healthy scratch for the team's games on Sunday and Monday.

Washington has been playing with the minimum of 12 forwards at home. With the Caps facing a quick turnaround with a game in Washington on Sunday and in Pittsburgh on Monday, the team needed a spare forward in case of an emergency to ensure the team had someone to plug into the lineup if there was an injury.

The Caps returned home after Monday's game in Pittsburgh and have Tuesday off making carrying Stephenson unnecessary. He may be back very soon, however, as the team will almost certainly call up another player prior to leaving for Thursday's game in St. Louis.

In Hershey, Stephenson has scored 23 points this season in 36 games. He played in nine games with the Caps in 2015-16.

RELATED: Prediction recap: Defense was optional in Pittsburgh