With a hat trick in a 7-3 blowout win against the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday, Alexander Ovechkin became the third player in NHL history to score 800 career goals, joining Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe. It wasn’t the prettiest score of his career, but it would’ve been a tall task for the Washington Capitals star to make his 800th his best.

Between 14 postseason berths and a Stanley Cup victory in 2018, Ovechkin has given more to the Capitals than any individual in the franchise’s history. In fact, his impact on the team and league is so widely understood that some Chicago fans threw their hats on the rink as a show of respect after his historic score.

Now at 800, the Great Eight is one goal away from tying Howe for the second-most goals all time. Though Gretzky’s total of 894 is still out of reach, Ovechkin has nevertheless ensured that he will be remembered as one of the greatest goal scorers in the history of the sport. He will have a chance to tie or overtake Howe on Thursday when the Capitals play the Dallas Stars at 7:00 p.m. ET.

“Let’s take it step by step,” Ovechkin said. “It’s a big number. It’s the best company you ever can imagine since you started playing hockey, with Gordie (and Wayne) — 800, I’m the third person who ever scored that many goals.”

Ovechkin’s longevity has been a marvel in itself, as the Capitals’ captain has remained healthy for years in an especially punishing sport. His sustained success has been even more remarkable, however, as he has now scored at least 20 goals in every season since his NHL career began in 2005. He is on pace for another highly productive season this year at age 37 with 20 goals in 31 games thus far.

Ovechkin’s performance has not yet propelled the Capitals in the standings, as the team is sixth in the Metropolitan Division, standing at 15-12 with four overtime losses.

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