Alex Ovechkin closing in on Marcel Dionne for fifth on the NHL goals list had Dionne pondering the natural question about how high the Washington Capitals forward can climb.

"The big talk, and it's going to be very interesting, he's 35 years old, is if he's going to catch [Wayne] Gretzky," Dionne said this month. "… Brett Hull is just ahead a little bit, and then you look at Gordie [Howe]. But the challenge is Gretzky."

With 730 goals in 1,194 games in 16 NHL seasons, Ovechkin is one from Dionne heading into the Capitals' game at the New York Islanders on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, NBCSWA, NHL.TV). Ovechkin has passed Mike Gartner (708 goals) and Phil Esposito (717) to climb from eighth to sixth this season by scoring 24 goals in 42 games.