Kuznetsov assists on Ovechkin's milestone goal, finally gets in picture


Evgeny Kuznetsov finally got the picture he'd always wanted. 

He’d made a few references in the past about not being included in Alex Ovechkin’s 700th goal photo, or any other picture of an Ovechkin milestone throughout the years, to the point where it became a running joke.

Tuesday, the ninth-year center finally got his wish. 

Ovechkin scored his 767th career goal against the Islanders in the third period of a 4-3 shootout win, off a faceoff win by Kuznetsov. And long after the fans at Capital One Arena had stopped chanting Ovechkin’s name and the game ended, the moment was documented properly in the dressing room. 

"I got in the picture finally,” Kuznetsov said postgame with a laugh and a glance toward the captain. “It took seven years."

It was Kuznetsov who assisted on Ovechkin’s 700th goal just over two years ago in New Jersey as well.

"I have pressure from Kuzy,” Ovechkin cracked. “Empty nets, breakaways. It's hard to play with that kind of center when you have pressure all the time. He wants to be in history, and right now, he is. He's relieved, too, right?"

Through the laughs and the jokes and the smiles, though, the historic moment wasn’t lost on either of them. Ovechkin is now just 34 goals away from tying Gordie Howe for second all-time and 127 away from tying Wayne Gretzky for first, a seemingly surreal sentence for anyone to put into words.  


Ovechkin’s goal chase was once just one wildly impressive milestone after the next as names like Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman and Mario Lemieux were knocked down the list by every Ovechkin goal. 

But with just “Mr. Hockey” and “The Great One” left to chase down, there was a sense of reality amongst the players over what type of goal No. 767 was, and what it means in the historical context of the sport. 

"For now, he just friend, teammate, right?” Kuznetsov said. “You don't really even think about who you play with. For us, he's so close to us, and we never even talk about his accomplish(ing) all those milestones. I'm pretty sure one day when I'm gonna retire, I hope he's gonna be still friends with me, we're gonna sit somewhere and think about and remember some of those milestones. For now, we're kind of turn the page and focus next. It's such a long year and such a hard career, so you just don't even think about that."

And whenever the day comes that Kuznetsov and Ovechkin no longer play together, or even when they stop playing the game altogether, Kuznetsov will surely remember goal No. 767 in his ever-growing memories in Washington.

And now, he’ll have the picture to remember it by too.