Alex Ovechkin overtakes Wayne Gretzky for most 40-goal seasons in NHL history

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Ovechkin overtakes Gretzky for most 40-goal seasons originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

WASHINGTON — On a night when the Capitals honored Alex Ovechkin for making history, he broke yet another record.

Ovechkin scored the opening goal of Tuesday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets for his 40th tally of the season, moving past Wayne Gretzky for the most 40-goal seasons in NHL history with his 13th such campaign. The Capitals’ captain is just the fourth player ever to record a 40-goal season at 37 or older and the first to do it since Brendan Shanahan in 2005-06.

Prior to the game, the Capitals hosted a ceremony recognizing Ovechkin moving into sole possession of second place on the NHL’s all-time goals list. He scored the 801st and 802nd goals of his career Dec. 23 to overtake Gordie Howe for that distinction. After his latest tally Tuesday, Ovechkin has scored 820 career goals — 74 back of Gretzky’s record.

The 2004 No. 1 pick has aged gracefully deep into his 30s. While he was the eighth player to reach the 40-goal mark this season, each of the first seven are all at least 10 years younger than him. He already held the league record for the most 40-goal seasons at 30 or older, a number that now sits at six.

Ten games remain on the Capitals’ schedule, giving Ovechkin a tight window with which to contend for a 50-goal season. Should he finish the year on a torrid enough stretch to hit the mark, he would become the oldest player ever to score 50 and break the record of… Alex Ovechkin, who set it just last season.