Written by Brian Tinsman at Washington.CBSLocal.com
When the Washington Capitals jumped out to a 3-0 lead at home against the Winnipeg Jets, it looked like the team might cruise to victory.
But midway through the third period, the tides had turned dramatically, and the Caps had to work to preserve a 3-3 tie at the end of regulation. That brought about the team’s second overtime experience of the season, and the first since losing a shootout to the Penguins in the season opener.
There would be no shootout on Thursday night, however, as Caps captain Alexander Ovechkin launched a ferocious one-timer that ended the game on a powerplay:
It was Ovi’s second goal of the game, joined by teammates Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie.
More importantly, Ovechkin’s 91st game-winning goal moved him into a tie with Wayne Gretzky and Mark Recchi for the 16th most in NHL history. Each goal will move him further up the charts, as he pursues Jaromír Jágr (133) for the most all-time.
Among active players, Ovi ranks fourth for game-winning goals, trailing only Jagr, Jarome Iginla and Patrick Marleau.
It is yet another outstanding accomplishment for Ovechkin and on that probably holds special meaning, considering his relationship with Gretzky.
In October, Gretzky revealed during an interview that he had mentored the Russian superstar, who reached out after yet another playoff disappointment last season. The two went to dinner and Ovi picked his brain.
“Everything that I think I asked Gordie [Howe], Alex [Ovechkin] asked me that night,” Gretzky said. “I found it so refreshing that he has such a love and a passion for the game and the National Hockey League and wanting to win a Stanley Cup.
“I really enjoyed myself spending the time with him. Just a really good young man who loves to play and has done great things for the league. He’s been wonderful for Washington and I hope he gets his wish one day.
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