The Most Impressive Milestones Reached in the 2013-14 NHL Season
The NHL season is winding down and the playoffs are getting closer. For some players, this year has been memorable for one specific reason: A career milestone has been reached and their name is in the record book forever.
Several of these records have been a long time coming, with fans counting down for many years. Others are one-season records and have come as quite a surprise.
Here are the most impressive milestones reached in the 2013-14 season.
10. Ryan Smyth's 126 Power-Play Goals
The Milestone: Ryan Smyth has 126 power-play goals with the Edmonton Oilers. He passed Wayne Gretzky and is now tied with Glenn Anderson for the team record.
How did he do it? As explained in The Canadian Press report in the Globe and Mail, Smyth took a nice pass from Jordan Eberle and slammed it past New York Islander goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. The goal came on March 6.
Can he extend it? The next goal Smyth scores will see him emerge as the franchise leader in power-play goals. All goal scoring marks in Oiler history are difficult to attain, and his record may not be broken for decades.
9. Joe Thornton Climbs into the Top 25 All Time in Assists
The Milestone: On New Year's Eve, Joe Thornton passed Alex Delvecchio to reach 25th on the all-time assists list.
How did he do it? Early in the second period of a game against the Anaheim Ducks, Thornton assisted on Dan Boyle's seventh goal of the season.
Can he extend it? He is the most prolific playmaker of his generation, and there's every chance Thornton will be the 13th man to post 1,000 career assists in the NHL.
8. Henrik Lundqvist Wins 300th Game
The Milestone: There are fewer than 30 goalies in the game's history to win 300 games. Henrik Lundqvist joined the elite club this season.
How did he do it? On March 9, Lundvqist shut out the Detroit Red Wings to record the historic win. He faced 30 shots during the contest.
Can he extend it? He is still in his early 30s and plays for a good team. If he remains healthy and effective, Lundqvist should be able to post 400 wins or more.
7. Michal Handzus Plays in 1,000 NHL Games
The Milestone: Michal Handzus played in his 1,000th NHL game March 19 against the St. Louis Blues.
How did he do it? Handzus has 15:38 of ice time and played his usual two-way game.
Can he extend it? He has been a role player for several years now. He is in his 15th NHL season with the end of the line is in sight based on current role and declining offensive output.
6. Vincent Lecavalier and the 400-Goal Plateau
The Milestone: Vincent Lecavalier has 398 goals in his NHL career. He'll score his 400th before the end of the season and be the 90th NHL player in history to do it.
How did he do it? Lecavalier scored 192 goals in a five-year run beginning in 2002, and that prolific period of his career has allowed him to reach these lofty heights.
Can he extend it? He is young enough to reach 500 goals before his career is over. The lockout season of 2004-05 and the shortened 2012-13 campaign will make the job more difficult. It's an issue facing all players from Lecavalier's generation.
5. Roberto Luongo Ties Patrick Roy with 66 Career Shutouts
The Milestone: Roberto Luongo tied legendary goalie Patrick Roy with 66 career shutouts in early March.
Can he extend it? Luongo should have several years remaining in his NHL career and could move up the all-time list before he retires.
4. Sidney Crosby Inside Top 5 All Time in Points Per Game
The Milestone: Sidney Crosby reached this point in previous seasons, but he now maintains a little-known and very impressive rank on the all-time list. His 1.403 points-per-game total ranks him fourth in the game's history, behind only Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Mike Bossy.
How did he do it? The key for Crosby has been consistency. If he's healthy, Sid the Kid is posting offense, and, in many seasons, doing it without elite-level linemates.
Can he extend it? A lot of his future success will rely on the quality of the Penguins. There are signs of erosion—the team has a large number of fringe players due to cap pressure—and providing Crosby with capable linemates is becoming an issue.
3. Jarome Iginla Scores 550th Career Goal
The Milestone: Jarome Iginla scored the 550th goal of his outstanding NHL career.
How did he do it? Iginla ripped a puck top shelf on Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo in a game against the Canucks. Rod Perry of CBC Sports reported the goal March 9.
Can he extend it? The former Calgary Flame has moved into the top 25 all-time scorers since the milestone earlier this month. If he returns for another season, Iginla could move into the top 20.
2. Alexander Ovechkin Scores 50 Goals in a Season for the 5th Time
The Milestone: Alexander Ovechkin hasn't scored 50 goals yet this season, but when he does, the Russian will join elite company. He'll be one of the few NHL players to have scored 50 goals in five different seasons.
How did he do it? Ovechkin got an early start. He reached the 50-goal mark as a rookie and then did the same three other times in his first five seasons. Despite falling off in recent years, his outstanding resurgence one year ago gave way to this season, where he'll eventually score 50 (currently at 46) again.
Can he extend it? There are very few players in the game's history to score 50 goals in five different seasons. The list: Bobby Hull, Phil Esposito, Guy Lafleur, Marcel Dionne, Mike Bossy, Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Mario Lemieux and Pavel Bure. Ovechkin would be the 11th to do it in NHL history. He could score 50 goals again based on age (he is 28) and skill level (he is still in his prime).
1. Jaromir Jagr's 700th NHL Career Goal
The Milestone: Jaromir Jagr scored his 700th career NHL marker this season. He now ranks seventh all time in regular-season goals.
How did he do it? As this article from NHL.com tells us, Jagr drifted in from the right circle and sent a screen shot past Evgeni Nabokov for this historic goal.
Can he extend it? Jagr's landmark goal puts him in range of Mike Gartner, Phil Esposito and Marcel Dionne if he plays another season. NHL fans are left to wonder where he would rank on the list if Jagr hadn't gone to the KHL for three seasons following the 2007-08 NHL season.
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