Ovechkin scores 750th career goal, Capitals defeat Columbus | Sports News

By STEPHEN WHYNO, AP Hockey Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) – Alex Ovechkin scored his 20th goal of the season and 750th of his NHL career to help the Washington Capitals beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 on Saturday night and break a two-game skid .

Ovechkin became the second-fastest player to reach the 750-goal mark in his 1,222nd regular-season game. Wayne Gretzky, whose record of 894 Ovechkin continues, rose to 750 in 1,001 games.

The Capitals captain hit the 20-goal mark in his 25th game of the season. Ovechkin joined Marcel Dionne, Jaromir Jagr and Mats Sundin as the only players to score 20 or more goals in each of his first 17 seasons in the NHL.

After ending a two-game drought, Ovechkin now trails Jagr by 16 goals for third on the career list. The 36-year-old Russian superstar needs one more power play to equal Dave Andreychuk for the most power play goals in league history.

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“I’m just trying to do my job, you know?” Ovechkin said

Skating on the right wing opposite to his usual stance, Ovechkin beat compatriot Daniil Tarasov with a perfect wrist shot that went high on the stick side at 3:12 of the second period. Tarasov became the 152nd goalkeeper Ovechkin scored on.

Rookie Aliaksei Protas scored his second career goal following his own rebound in the first. Garnet Hathaway sealed it with an empty thread with 1:27 remaining in the settlement.

Tarasov, who was playing his second game for Columbus after making his NHL debut Thursday in Dallas, gave up plenty of rebounds early before settling. He fought off Connor McMichael of Washington with a slipped right pad save late in the second period, the most impressive of his 29 saves on 31 shots.

Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov made 17 saves for his 10th win in 11 starts this season. He was at his best when the Blue Jackets tipped the ice towards him on a first penalty kill, and Samsonov fought off Zach Werensky on a point blank scoring opportunity shortly after when the game fell back to 5 on. 5.

Despite the absence of center Nic Dowd and defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk because they are in the league’s COVID-19 protocol, the Capitals got a boost with the return of wingers TJ Oshie and Conor Sheary after they tied six-game absences. Oshie had missed 16 of the previous 17 games with lower body injuries.

Eric Robinson scored the only goal of the night for the Blue Jackets, who lost their fourth in a row in regulation. They were outscored 18-6 during that losing streak.

NOTES: Brad Larsen of Columbus is one of four active NHL head coaches who have played against Ovechkin. … Defenseman Matt Irwin made his Capitals debut, dressing for the first time this season. … Capitals winger Daniel Sprong was eliminated in good health for the third time in four games. … Forward Gregory Hofmann replaced Jack Roslovic in the Blue Jackets roster. Roslovic was a healthy zero for the first time this season. … The players of National Women’s Football League champion Washington Spirit received a standing ovation when they were shown on video screens. Ovechkin and his wife Nastya are part of the Spirit Ownership Group.

Blue Jackets: Back home to face the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

Capitals: Continue their four home games on Monday against the Anaheim Ducks.

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