NHL

Ovechkin roars to Rocket Richard lead with 3rd-period hat trick in 5-minute flash

Alex Ovechkin recorded his 27th career hat trick and raised his career goal total to 698 during a five-minute stretch of the third period, rallying the Washington Capitals to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.

Capitals captain raises career goals total to 698 in comeback win over Kings

Washington's Alex Ovechkin celebrates his second goal of the night during the third period of the Capitals' 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. (Nick Wass/The Associated Press)

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin doesn't think he's ever been this hot in a 15-year career that has included eight NHL scoring titles.

If he continues at his present pace, he'll join the 700 career goal club by this weekend.

Ovechkin recorded his 27th career hat trick and raised his career goal total to 698 during a furious five-minute stretch of the third period, rallying Washington to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night and continuing an incredible stretch for the 34-year-old.

With 14 goals in his last seven games, he's closer to becoming the eighth player in an elusive NHL club than many would've suspected a month ago. Though there isn't much time to reflect on it.

"Not yet," he said. "I'm still playing. But after the year, yeah, I'm pretty sure me and my family and my friends are going to talk about it."

WATCH | Ovechkin notches hat trick for 40th goal of the season:

Ovechkin scores 3rd period hat trick to reach 40 for season

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1 year ago
1:08
Alex Ovechkin's hat trick gives him 698 goals in his career, as the Capitals beat the Kings 4-2. 1:08

Ovechkin's career-best recent flurry has pushed him to 40 goals on the season and back into the top spot in his chase of a ninth Maurice Richard Trophy, two ahead of Boston's David Pasternak. The Capitals also lead the Bruins by a point in the race for the President's Cup.

And No. 700 could come as early as Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers, which would be fine by him — he'd prefer to reach the milestone sooner than later.

"Yeah, obviously," Ovechkin said. "If you're going to think about it too much, you're never going to get it. So I have to go out there and play."

Even within this recent run, Tuesday night's performance to single-handedly lift the Capitals to victory stood out.

With 6:10 remaining, just over two minutes after the Capitals fell behind, Ovechkin one-timed a feed from T.J. Oshie to tie the game at 2-all . Seventy seconds later, he rebounded his own miss off goaltender Jonathan Quick's pads and put Washington in front.

'That's what superstars do'

He added an empty-netter with 1:46 to play, moving within 10 goals of Mike Gartner for seventh on the NHL's all-time goals list.

"In less than five minutes, he took over the game," Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. "And we won the game because of that. That's what superstars do. We're fortunate to have him.

"I say it all the time. That D.C. and the surrounding areas are just so fortunate to be able to witness what we're seeing in front of our eyes and have seen over the last number of years. This is a real, real special player."

John Carlson added his 14th goal and 50th and 51st assists for Washington, which rebounded after opening a four-game homestand with a loss to Pittsburgh. Braden Holtby made 29 saves in the win, including a flurry of impressive stops in the second period in which the Kings were clear aggressors.

"He obviously kept us in the game when we weren't as sharp and gave up some good chances," Reirden said. "And he made some huge saves for us in a couple surges that they had."

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