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Ovechkin nets milestone as Caps keep in hunt

Updated: 2024-03-20 09:23
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Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin celebrates a goal against the Calgary Flames on Monday. [Photo/AP]

CALGARY, Alberta — Alex Ovechkin scored twice and became the third player in NHL history to have at least 20 goals in 19 consecutive seasons as the Washington Capitals beat the Calgary Flames 5-2 on Monday night.

The 38-year-old Ovechkin had two power-play goals in the second period as Washington won its third straight game. He joined Gordie Howe (22) and Brendan Shanahan (19) as the only players to achieve the goal-scoring feat.

"Consistency. Not just from the scoring part but also him being in the lineup and being durable and him being able to play game after game after game all these years," Washington coach Spencer Carbery said of Ovechkin.

"We needed every single bit of those two goals tonight to get us in front and to be able to play from in front because you could tell early on we had zero legs and mentally some of the puck decisions, plays, it was uncharacteristic."

Dylan Strome, Hendrix Lapierre and Tom Wilson also scored for Washington (33-25-9), which moved into the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of idle Detroit. It's the first time the Capitals have occupied a playoff spot since Jan 2.

"We know it's not going to be easy. We keep fighting, keep playing," said Ovechkin. "We still can do it. We're still in the battle. Every point counts."

Kevin Rooney and MacKenzie Weegar scored for Calgary (33-30-5). The Flames finished 2-2-0 in a four-game homestand.

Washington goalie Charlie Lindgren had 34 saves and improved to 18-11-5. He has won five of his last six games with a .956 save percentage.

Calgary rookie Dustin Wolf allowed four goals on 32 shots in his third straight start and saw his record dip to 3-4-1. Wolf had allowed three goals on 67 shots in winning his last two games.

Ovechkin's 20th goal of the season made it 2-0 at 5:58 of the second period. Ovechkin went to the net where he neatly deflected a pass from Max Pacioretty into the top corner.

After pumping his arms in celebration, Ovechkin immediately looked over at Pacioretty and pointed, acknowledging the terrific pass.

Ovechkin has 12 goals in 20 games since the All-Star break after scoring just nine times in 44 games before that. He raised his career goal total to 843, second to — and 51 behind — Wayne Gretzky.

Tragedy strikes

Konstantin Koltsov, the Belarusian former pro ice hockey player and boyfriend of tennis player Aryna Sabalenka, has died at the age of 42, Russian club Salavat Yulaev said in a statement on Tuesday.

Forward Koltsov played for the Belarus national team in the 2002 and 2010 Olympics and spent parts of three seasons with the National Hockey League's Pittsburgh Penguins from 2002 and 2006.

"It is with deep sorrow that we inform you that the coach of Salavat Yulaev, Konstantin Koltsov, has passed away," Salavat Yulaev, which is based in the Russian city of Ufa, said in the statement.

"He was a strong and cheerful person, he was loved and respected by players, colleagues, and fans. Konstantin Evgenievich forever wrote himself into the history of our club.

"May he rest in peace."

Renowned for his speed on the ice, Koltsov won the Russian Super League title with Salavat Yulaev in 2008 and more recently returned to the club as an assistant coach.

Sabalenka and Koltsov were first linked in June 2021, according to People magazine, and the world No 2 has frequently posted photos of them together on her Instagram account.

"I love you @koltsov2021," she wrote in one post that included heart and other emojis.

"Happy birthday my love. You are my dearest person, my best friend and my strongest support. Peace be with you, strength, patience and health.

"I hope we will have everything we planned I love you."

Koltsov also applauded Sabalenka after the Belarusian won her second consecutive Australian Open title in January.

Sabalenka lost in the last 16 at Indian Wells last week and is scheduled to play her first match at the Miami Open on Friday.




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