Alex Ovechkin set to play in his 1,000th career NHL game

WASHINGTON — Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is set to become the first player in franchise history to play 1,000 career NHL games and the first from the 2004 NHL draft class after Sunday night’s game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Ovechkin will also be the 54th player in NHL history to play his first 1,000 games with just one franchise.

Ovechkin is the NHL leader with 45 goals this season. He has also scored 18.7 percent of the Capitals’ total goals.

The Caps are 35-9-3 this season when he records a point.

Ovechkin is looking to reach the 50-goal mark for the eighth time in his career. The 32-year-old Russian is also trying to become just the second player since the 1967-68 expansion era to lead the league in goals at the age of 32 or older.

Ovechkin was selected by the Capitals, first overall, in the first round of the 2004 NHL Draft.

The Moscow native has scored 603 goals and 515 assists in 999 career games with the Capitals. At 6 feet, 3 inches, the 235-pound left winger has won the Hart Memorial Trophy three times and is a six-time winner of the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy.

Since entering the NHL at the beginning of the 2005-06 season, he leads the NHL with 603 goals, 1,118 points, 227 power-play goals, with 434 power-play points as well as 101 game-winning goals.

Even though his career started in 2005, Ovechkin still leads the NHL in goals since the 1998-99 season. He is also the only player in the league to score 30 or more goals, each season since 2005-06.

The Capitals punched their ticket to the postseason, thanks to the rival Penguins’ overtime win over New Jersey Thursday night.

Pittsburgh is returning to the playoffs for the 12th straight season after their win over Montreal Saturday night. A Caps victory in regulation over the Pens on Sunday would clinch the Metropolitan Division for Washington.

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