Alex Ovechkin climbs list of NHL all-time, power-play goal scorers in Washington Capitals' victory

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Monday, April 5, 2021

NEWARK, N.J. -- Alex Ovechkin moved into a second-place tie on the all-time list for NHL power-play goals and the Washington Capitals beat the New Jersey Devils 5-4 on Sunday, completing a sweep of their eight-game season series.

Ovechkin's second-period goal was his 265th with the extra man, tying him with Brett Hull for second place and leaving him nine behind all-time league leader Dave Andreychuk (274).

The 35-year-old Russian, who also picked up two assists, has 19 goals this season and 725 in his career. He is six goals shy of tying Marcel Dionne for fifth place all time in the NHL.

Like most of his personal marks, Ovechkin downplayed the significance of the goal.

"Keep going," he said. "It is what it is."

Ilya Samsonov was a big reason the Capitals finished off the sweep, making 35 saves, including 29 in the opening 40 minutes.

T.J. Oshie, Conor Sheary, Carl Hagelin and Evgeny Kuznetsov also scored for Washington. The eight-game sweep was the first in team history against a single opponent.

Travis Zajac scored twice and Yegor Sharangovich and Jesper Bratt once for New Jersey, which trailed 3-2 after two periods despite outshooting the Caps 31-12. Mackenzie Blackwood faced 19 shots.

After Zajac and Oshie scored in the first period, Sheary gave the Caps the lead at 3:21 of the second period with a shot that deflected off the jersey of Devils defenseman Damon Severson and fluttered into the net.

Ovechkin stretched the lead to two goals, slam-dunking the rebound of Nicklas Backstrom's shot that slipped through Blackwood's pads. The power play was set up when Dmitry Kulikov high-sticked Ovechkin in the face.

"He's going to be a legend in the game," Devils defenseman Ryan Murray said. "You know, it's our job to shut him down. But, of course, you appreciate what he's done over his career."

Sharangovich got New Jersey within 3-2 late in the second period but Hagelin and Kuznetsov scored early in the third to stretch the margin to 5-2. Bratt and Zajac got the Devils within a goal with 4:07 to play. They never got closer.

New Jersey was short-handed up front, as right wing Kyle Palmieri sat out for precautionary reasons. Stephen Bartlett, his agent, said on social media that the move was made in anticipation of a trade in the coming days or weeks. The trade deadline is April 12.

Palmieri, 30, has scored at least 24 goals in each of his first five seasons with the Devils. New Jersey and Palmieri's camp had been in discussions -- off and on during the season -- regarding a potential contract extension. He is regarded as one of the more appealing goal scorers in this trade market, and as an unrestricted free agent this summer, could well end up back in New Jersey on a different deal next season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.