January 11, 2016 / 4:38 AM / 2 years ago

Ovechkin reaches 500-goal milestone as Caps thrash Sens

(The Sports Xchange) - Alex Ovechkin became the fifth-fastest player to record his 500th NHL goal and added another for good measure as the 30-year-old led the Washington Capitals to a 7-1 rout over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.

Jan 10, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) is surrounded by teammates right wing T.J. Oshie (77), center Nicklas Backstrom (19), defenseman Matt Niskanen (2) and defenseman Karl Alzner (27) against the Ottawa Senators during the third period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

“It’s nice to be in that spot,” Ovechkin told reporters after playing in his 801st NHL game.

”It’s a history moment. I wave and blew a kiss to my dad and my mom. My dad quit is his job and spend all his time with me. Basically he was my personal coach when I was a little kid and for him it was a special moment.

“It’s a pretty special moment for them.”

Forwards Justin Williams, T.J. Oshie, Zach Sill and Tom Wilson, and defenseman Dmitry Orlov also scored goals for the Capitals, who improved to an NHL best 32-7-3. The Capitals are now 13-1-1 in their last 15 games.

The Senators’ only offense came from forward Mike Hoffman, who netted his team-high 20th goal of the season in early in the second period.

Fighting for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference standings, Ottawa has lost five of its last six and eight of its last 10.

“It’s obviously a tough one to swallow,” said Senators goalie Andrew Hammond, who allowed seven goals on 36 shots.

“It’s one of those nights where you figure out pretty early you’re not at your best, but you’ve got to find a way to keep your team in it and I wasn’t able to do that tonight.”

MASS CELEBRATION

It has been quite a first half of the season for Ovechkin, who in November became the NHL’s leading Russian-born goal scorer. Last week, Ovechkin was named captain of the Metropolitan Division for the NHL All-Star Game.

Ovechkin’s milestone goal came on the power play, where he positioned himself in the left circle. He cradled a long pass from team mate Jason Chimera and snapped a hard shot past Hammond for his team-high 25th goal of the season.

“My job is to put the puck in and I tried to do my best,” Ovechkin said.

The Capitals hopped over the bench to embrace Ovechkin, who waved to the fans.

“No disrespect to the Senators when we all jumped on the ice there,” Oshie said. “But we couldn’t contain ourselves. ‘O’ didn’t know about it but we wanted to be out there and celebrate with him.”

Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mike Bossy and Brett Hull are the four players to reach the milestone in fewer games than Ovechkin.

His first goal gave the Capitals a 5-1 lead after two periods and he stepped into the spotlight again midway through the third period, beating Hammond with a mad dash to the net at the 9:46 mark.

His second goal of the night gave him the NHL lead with 26 goals, one more than Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn.

Editing by John O'Brien

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