Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin has broken Wayne Gretzky’s record.
No, not that one.
The suddenly rejuvenated Ovechkin scored an empty net goal with 28 seconds left in a 3-0 victory against the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon. That gave him 57 for his career. He had been tied with Gretzky entering the game with 56 empty-netters.
Ovechkin, who also had a nice assist on a Dylan Strome goal, was on the ice late in the game after he finished serving a penalty for hooking. As the Bruins pressed, Ovechkin banked the puck off the boards past Hampus Lindholm, beat Charlie Coyle to the puck and one-handed it into the Boston net.
OVECHKIN TRACKER: Where he stands in chase of Wayne Gretzky goal record
The goal also pushed Ovechkin closer to breaking the big Gretzky record for career goals. He’s at 834 regular-season goals. Gretzky had 894.
That record seems more within reach because Ovechkin is on a roll after a slow start to the season. He had a career-worst 14-game goal drought early in the season and also had an eight-game drought plus missed three games with a lower-body injury.
But he now has goals in four games in a row to give him 12 for the season. He scored in the Capitals’ final game before the All-Star break and in each of the three games since.
Ovechkin, who has two years left on his contract after this one, needed to average 24.3 goals a season on that deal to pass Gretzky. He was on pace for 14 goals before the recent surge and now is on pace for 20.
Ovechkin asked not to be considered for the All-Star Game this season so he could rest. He spent the break in Dubai, and Saturday’s ABC broadcast showed video of Ovechkin and his family riding camels.
It appears he has gotten over the hump.