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Celebrating 767

767 goals. One incredible moment.

New York Islanders v Washington Capitals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

These are admittedly complicated times to be a Caps fan, and an Alex Ovechkin fan.

But last night, for just a moment, things became simple.

Well, simpler. Maybe.

For just a moment, there was only a perfectly executed faceoff win. For just a moment, there was the puck landing on the stick of the most lethal goal-scorer ever to play the game of hockey. And in just a split second, as we’ve seen so many times before, that puck found its way to the back of the net.

History made. Goal #767.

For those of us who have followed Alex Ovechkin’s career since his first arena-breaking NHL shift, last night was the culmination of a journey most of us probably never expected to take - and it’s one that has, for the most part, been a joyous one, albeit not without the types of brutal heartache that make the good times all the sweeter.

766 goals, 1256 games, 6005 days and two arena names ago, Ovechkin took the ice in Washington, DC for his very first NHL game. The highly hyped Russian phenom instantly made an impression on the hometown crowd, shaking a stanchion free with a thunderous check on his first shift and following that up with a two-goal outburst. The first two of many, many to come.

Since then he’s hit milestone after milestone, set record after record, and cemented his name in the NHL history books (while also etching his name on two pretty amazing trophies).

In some ways last night was just more of the same. Another historic moment for a man who has so frequently shared them with us over the course of his career.

And yet last night was one of the best yet, as Ovechkin pushed Jaromir Jagr out of the way to become the greatest European goal-scorer of all time, and step into sole possession of third place on the all-time goals list. A huge moment, an incredible milestone and a singularly impressive piece of sports history that we were once again lucky enough to witness.

So 767 goals are in the books - and who knows how many more await, as the 36-year-old continues to show no signs of slowing down. He now sets his sights on #800, and then #802 to pass Gordie Howe... and after that, only Wayne Gretzky remains.

The journey continues, and for one moment on that journey, we were reminded of how fortunate we’ve been to be on it.