Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored the 800th goal of his career Tuesday night, becoming the third player in NHL history -- behind Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe -- to reach the milestone.

He also became the first to do it with a single franchise, and it came as part of a hat trick performance in a 7-3 victory over the Blackhawks in Chicago.

"This ... it's huge. It's huge for hockey, it's huge for the organization," a drained Ovechkin told his teammates in the locker room after the win. "And to do it with you guys, it's special."
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The 37-year-old left winger tallied his historic marker in the third period of his 1,305th career game. It was also Ovechkin's 20th goal this season, giving him an 18th consecutive campaign with at least 20. Only Brendan Shanahan (19 straight) and Howe (22) have accomplished the same feat.

Tuesday also marked the 162nd multigoal game of Ovechkin's career, which trails only Gretzky's mark of 189 games. He picked up his first two of the night in the opening period.


In the first period, Ovechkin scored the 136th game-opening goal of his career, breaking a tie with Jaromir Jagr in that category.

Howe became the first player to hit 800 goals on Feb. 29, 1980. He would stand alone there for 14 years until Gretzky grabbed his 800th on March 20, 1994. Ovechkin's next goal -- No. 801 -- will tie him with Howe for second-most in NHL history. Gretzky holds the record at 894 goals.

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