Alex Ovechkin scored 30 goals in a season in the NHL for the 16th time, one less than the record.
The Washington Capitals forward scored two third period goals against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday and has 31 on the season.
The 36-year-old, in his 17th NHL season, follows Mike Gartner, who has scored 30 goals in 17 of his 19 NHL seasons.
Ovechkin, who hadn’t scored in six games, scored a power-play goal at 4:33 and an empty-netter with 1:23 remaining. Washington won 4-1 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
“If we play like that, we move the puck fast, we control the puck, it doesn’t matter, me or somebody else is going to score,” Ovechkin said. “I’m just trying to do my job.”
Ovechkin scored more than 30 goals in each of his first 15 NHL seasons, a streak that ended with 24 in 45 games last season, when the NHL schedule was reduced to 56 games due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
“That’s quite an accomplishment from ‘Ovi’,” Washington coach Peter Laviolette said. “It’s the second highest number in the NHL, so it’s a big achievement on his part. It’s different when you’re coaching against him than when you’re coaching with him. When you’re coaching against him, you’re constantly talking about how to keep him in check. Especially on the power play, the goal he scored tonight, he scored so many goals in that area. It’s nice to have a weapon like that on the ice 5 against 5 and on the power play his year was great he got off to a great start and had a bit of a dry spell lately but it’s nice to see him stepping onto the board tonight with a couple.
Ovechkin, Gartner (1979-94) and Jaromir Jagr (1991-2007) share the NHL record of 15 consecutive 30-goal seasons. Ovechkin and Gartner, who played his first 10 seasons for Washington, are the only players to score at least 30 goals in each of his first 15 NHL seasons.
Gartner’s streak ended when he scored 12 goals in 38 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 48-game 1994-95 season. He then scored 35 points for Toronto in 1995-96 and 32 for the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996-97.
Ovechkin has scored 761 NHL goals and trails Jagr (766), Gordie Howe (801) and Wayne Gretzky (894).
“I guess I’m still having fun,” Ovechkin said last month. “I think I still love the game. I love being on the ice, off the ice, hanging out with this group of guys. So I think that’s the most important thing.”
NHL.com Independent Correspondent John Glennon contributed to this report