San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau broke the NHL record for most career games on Monday, passing the legendary Gordie Howe.
When Marleau was on the ice for the opening faceoff against the Vegas Golden Knights in Las Vegas, he appeared in his 1,768th game. The Sharks wound up losing 3-2 in a shootout, with Marleau missing on San Jose’s first attempt in the tiebreaking competition.
Howe played in 1,767 NHL games from 1946-71 and in the 1979-80 season. In between, he played in 419 games in the World Hockey Association. “Mr. Hockey” played his final game for the NHL’s Hartford Whalers in April 1980 at age 52.
Marleau, 41, has four goals and four assists in 45 games this season. He broke into the NHL with the Sharks in October 1997 and remained in San Jose through the 2016-17 season. He then played two seasons for the Toronto Maple Leafs before rejoining the Sharks at the start of last season.
Marleau joined the Pittsburgh Penguins late last season, appearing in eight regular-season games and four play-in games, before returning to San Jose as a free agent in October.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a video message to Marleau, “Congratulations on an amazing achievement. To be merely mentioned in the same sentence as Gordie Howe is an achievement most hockey players can only dream about. To break one of his records is historic.”
Marleau said postgame on NBC Sports California, “Just extremely grateful for all the support everyone’s given me throughout my career. I don’t know how many calls or texts I’ve got. It’ll take me a week to get back to them. It’s been overwhelmingly humbling, to say the least.”