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.”
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'