Ovechkin joins NHL’s 600-goal club

Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals poses with the puck commemorating his 600th career goal in which he scored during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at Capital One Arena in Washington Monday. — AFP

WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin put back a rebound and skated into the spotlight as the latest member of the NHL’s 600-goal club.

The captain of the Washington Capitals scored twice Monday night against the Winnipeg Jets (3-2) to reach the milestone in his 990th regular-season game. Ovechkin became the fourth-fastest player in NHL history to 600 behind only Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Brett Hull.

“Pretty amazing feeling, pretty cool feeling,” Ovechkin said after the second period. “My wife is here. She just got back from Moscow. She said, ‘I have a feeling you’re gonna score 600 tonight.’“

Ovechkin’s rebound goal past Connor Hellebuyck 3:53 into the second period was his 42nd of the season as he tries to hit 50 for the eighth time. His first goal 4:35 into the first period came on a 5-on-3 power play as the Russian winger looked determined to reach 600 after several games on the doorstep.

Capitals fans who have watched Ovechkin shine as the most productive goal scorer of the past decade-plus gave him a standing ovation for almost a minute after he reached the mark. Chants of “Ovi! Ovi!” continued as he waved from the bench in the moments after and during a video montage at the next timeout.

After scoring 33 goals in 2016-17, his second-lowest total in a non-lockout-shortened season, the 32-year-old Ovechkin’s resurgence made his climb to 600 all the more impressive. No player 32 or older has led the NHL in goals since Phil Esposito in 1974-75.

“He probably is the best goal scorer of our generation,” said Tom Wilson, who had the primary assist on Ovechkin’s 600th. “It’s pretty fun when every time you get him the puck there’s a good chance he’s going to put it in the back of the net.”

Ovechkin recaptured sole possession of the NHL lead against Jets winger Patrik Laine, who had tied him after idolizing the star forward growing up. Even while hoping Ovechkin wouldn’t score No. 600 against Winnipeg, Laine can’t help but appreciate the scoring pace.

“That’s pretty amazing to reach that,” Laine said Monday morning. “Six-hundred goals in under 1,000 games, it’s pretty unreal.”

Golden Knights 3, Flyers 2: Erik Haula, William Karlsson and Ryan Carpenter scored one goal each to lift Vegas past Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center.

Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 38 shots in earning his 400th career win, third among active players.

Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds scored for the Flyers and goaltender Petr Mrazek made 26 saves in the loss.

Blue Jackets 5, Canadiens 2: Alexander Wennberg notched a goal and three assists, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 38 shots as Columbus claimed a win over Montreal in Columbus.

Defenseman Seth Jones, however, left the game after the second period due to an upper-body injury.

Blues 4, Ducks 2: Four players scored a goal each and Jake Allen made 20 saves for just his fourth win in 21 games as St. Louis dumped Anaheim in a matchup of Western Conference playoff hopefuls in Anaheim.

Patrik Berglund gave the Blues valuable insurance with his ninth goal at 11:28 of the third period, taking a pass in the high slot from Kyle Brodziak and wiring a wrister by John Gibson.

Derek Grant pulled the Ducks within a marker at 6:15 with his ninth goal, deflecting a Chris Kelly shot, but Anaheim couldn’t avoid its third straight loss. It stayed at 80 points, good for third in the Pacific Division, after going 7-1-1 in its previous nine games.

Kings 3, Canucks 0: Goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped 35 shots for his fourth shutout of the season as hometown Los Angeles blanked Vancouver.

With the win, the Kings moved above the National Hockey League playoff bar. Their 81 points put two points behind San Jose for second place in the Pacific Division. Tyler Toffoli led the Kings with a goal and an assist, while Anze Kopitar, Tanner Pearson also tallied for the Kings as they posted their eighth win in 12 games.

Sharks 5, Red Wings 3: Timo Meier and Chris Tierney both collected one goal and one assist and goalie Martin Jones stopped 23 shots as San Jose beat Detroit.

Tierney iced it with an empty netter with 94 seconds remaining in regulation. The Sharks finished a six-game homestand at SAP Center with a 4-2 mark and sit second in the Pacific Division.

Jimmy Howard made 29 saves for the Red Wings, who have lost seven straight, including six in regulation. Tyler Bertuzzi collected three assists in the loss.

Senators 5, Panthers 3: Matt Duchene and Magnus Paajarvi scored two goals each as Ottawa snapped Florida’s franchise-record eight-game home winning streak.

Rangers 6, Hurricanes 3: Jimmy Vesey scored a hat trick, including the go-ahead goal midway through the third period, and Mats Zuccarello added two goals to lead New York to a win over visiting Carolina. — Reuters