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Ovechkin, chasing Gretzky goal record, ends another long drought

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin’s goals have been less frequent this season as he chases all-time leader Wayne Gretzky and tries to break a record once thought unbreakable.

But Saturday afternoon, he ended another long goal drought, which had extended on either side of a three-game injury absence.

Gretzky, who played from 1979-99, leads the way with 894 regular-season NHL goals. Ovechkin, 38,who passed Gordie Howe last season to move into second place, has 831 goals and needs 64 more for the record. He’s behind the pace but has two years left on his contract after this season.

Here’s where he stands in his chase of Gretzky’s goal record:

How many goals does Alex Ovechkin have this season?

Ovechkin needs to average 24 goals a season during his current contract to tie Gretzky’s record. With nine goals in the Capitals’ first 47 games, he is on pace for about 16.

What did Alex Ovechkin do in the Capitals’ last game?

Jan. 27: He had a goal and an assist, plus four shots in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars. The third period goal was scored on a 6-on-4 power play. He scored from outside his usual office in the left faceoff circle and on a slapshot, not a one-timer.

How is Alex Ovechkin’s season going?

The goal droughts have been atypical for him. Ovechkin had no shots on goal in consecutive games for the first time in his career and only two goals in his first 12 games. He scored three goals over his next three games before going through a career-worst 14-game drought. He went another three games without a goal before scoring in back-to-back games on Dec. 30 and Jan. 2. He had no goals in the eight games surrounding his three-game absence before scoring on Saturday. But he’s tied for first on the Capitals with 31 points in 44 games.

The Capitals’ power play, which is missing injured Nicklas Backstrom, is 28th in the league. Ovechkin, the all-time leader in power-play goals, has four this season.

When do Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals play next?

The Capitals’ next game is Feb. 6 against the Montreal Canadiens in their first game after the All-Star break. Ovechkin has 37 goals in 56 career games vs. the Canadiens.

Who are the NHL’s top all-time goal scorers?

The top 20 NHL all-time goal scorers have all topped 600 goals. All are in the Hockey Hall of Fame, except Ovechkin and Jaromir Jagr, who has suited up this season in the Czech Republic.

1. Wayne Gretzky,  894 goals in 1,487 games

2. Alex Ovechkin, 831 goals in 1,391 games

3. Gordie Howe, 801 goals in 1,767 games

4. Jaromir Jagr, 766 goals in 1,733 games

5. Brett Hull, 741 goals in 1,269 games

6. Marcel Dionne, 731 in 1,348 games

7. Phil Esposito, 717 goals in 1,282 games

8. Mike Gartner, 708 goals in 1,432 games

9. Mark Messier, 694 goals in 1,756 games

10. Steve Yzerman, 692 goals in 1,514 games

11. Mario Lemieux, 690 goals in 915 games

12. Teemu Selanne, 684 goals in 1,451 games

13. Luc Robitaille, 668 goals in 1,431 games

14. Brendan Shanahan, 656 goals in 1,524 games

15. Dave Andreychuk, 640 goals in 1,639 games

16. Jarome Iginla, 625 goals in 1,554 games

17. Joe Sakic, 625 goals in 1,378 games

18. Bobby Hull, 610 goals in 1,063 games

19. Dino Ciccarelli, 608 goals in 1,232 games

20. Jari Kurri, 601 goals in 1,251 games

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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