Ovechkin one goal away from '500 club'


New York (AFP)

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice, including an overtime game-winner, to put the Russian one goal away from 500 for his NHL career.

After helping the Capitals secure a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, Ovechkin can join the 500 club at home on Sunday, when the Capitals host the Ottawa Senators.

After that Washington won't play again until they host Vancouver on Thursday.

"I'm just going to take it game by game," Ovechkin said. "If I score, I score. If not, there's still plenty of games left. I'm still going to score one goal sooner or later, I think."

Ovechkin has already notched one milestone this season, when his 484th career goal on November 19 saw him surpass Sergei Fedorov for the Russian with the most career goals in the league.

If Ovechkin scores on Sunday it would be in his 801st game, which would make him the fifth-fastest player in NHL history to reach 500 after Canadian great Wayne Gretzky (575 games), Mario Lemieux (605), Mike Bossy (647) and Brett Hull (693).

Ovechkin's 498th goal came on a power play with 15 seconds remaining in the first period.

He pounced on an errant pass from Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi to give Washington a 1-0 lead.

Number 499 capped a wild sequence that included Capitals goalie Braden Holtby's save on Rangers left wing Rick Nash.

Rangers center Derek Stepan's attempt off the rebound was blocked by Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt and when the puck came off Schmidt's stick Ovechkin gathered it and skated the length of the ice, beating goaltender Henrik Lundqvist through defenseman Ryan McDonagh.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz said it would be fitting if Ovechkin could get his 500th goal in front of home fans.

"Our fans have supported him for so long and they've seen a lot of his goals and a lot of his celebrations," Trotz said.