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Alex Ovechkin continues chase for 700 goals vs. Golden Knights

One of Pete DeBoer’s most memorable run-ins with Washington star Alex Ovechkin came while he coached the Florida Panthers.

“I remember looking at the game sheet after the game and he had, I think, 12 shots, 10 hits, three goals,” DeBoer recalled. “It was an insane stat line that I had never seen before at the NHL level.”

If the Golden Knights coach was referring to the Feb. 15, 2009, game, Ovechkin only had 10 shot attempts (eight on goal) and one hit to go with his hat trick.

But that wouldn’t be the first tall tale told about the Capitals’ captain.

Ovechkin continues his chase for 700 goals Monday when Washington visits T-Mobile Arena for a 3 p.m. faceoff.

The 34-year-old remains stuck on 698 after being held without a goal for a season-high four straight games.

“When I first started, he’s a guy that you always watched, whether it’s on YouTube or whatnot to try to figure out the areas he goes to,” left wing Max Pacioretty said. “The way he shoots the puck, in my opinion, the best of all time.”

Ovechkin is set to become the eighth player in NHL history to score 700 regular-season goals.

Should he remain healthy, Ovechkin is on pace to challenge Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record of 894 goals.

“I’ve faced him a lot, and obviously he’s always a dangerous shooter,” Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said. “He’s got a hard shot. Honestly, it might be a close race.”

Ovechkin has 40 goals in 57 games but has not scored since a hat trick against Los Angeles on Feb. 4.

He registered 17 shot attempts, with eight shots on goal, in Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Arizona and will now have the opportunity to reach the milestone in the same arena where the Capitals clinched the Stanley Cup in 2018.

“He can shoot anything,” former teammate Chandler Stephenson said. “Whether it’s in his wheelhouse, not in his wheelhouse. It’s pretty crazy to watch when he really loads it up and lets it fly.”

Fighting words

Ryan Reaves might have a new rival after Saturday’s tussle off the opening faceoff with Islanders tough guy Ross Johnston.

Reaves said Johnston boasted he was the new NHL heavyweight champion during the team’s first meeting in December, a claim that didn’t sit well with Reaves.

“I don’t think he’s been around long enough to be throwing out those comments,” Reaves said. “He knows how to fight. I just don’t think he needs to be saying stuff like that without actually having the belt in his hand.”

Ice shavings

— Tomas Nosek was wearing a visor during practice Sunday. He used a full shield since taking a puck to the face Feb. 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

— Forward Nicolas Roy was reassigned to the American Hockey League late Saturday after being scratched for the 1-0 victory over the Islanders.

— The Knights announced Fleury’s gold pads will not be auctioned off during Tuesday’s Knight to Remember Gala as originally intended. Instead, one of Fleury’s masks will be up for bid.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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