Alex Ovechkin went from being a game-time decision to making more NHL history on Wednesday night.
The Washington Capitals star scored twice in the team’s 5-1 victory over the New York Rangers, giving him 732 career goals in 1,198 games. Those goals moved him past Hockey Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne and into sole possession of fifth place all-time in NHL career goals.
“I just enjoy my time. Of course, it’s a huge privilege being on that list, but as I say all the time: Game-by-game, day-by-day,” said Ovechkin.
The 36-year-old captain was questionable for the Capitals’ home opener with a lower-body injury he sustained in their preseason finale. But Ovechkin participated in a full practice on Wednesday, increasing the likelihood he would play.
“That’s not a perfect week for him to get ready to have an opening night. There were lots of question marks [about his health]. There were still question marks this morning,” said Capitals coach Peter Laviolette. “He jumped into the game and was a major factor in the game.”
Laviolette made some history of his own, earning his 674th win and passing John Tortorella for the most wins by an American-born head coach in NHL history.