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|Paul Kariya poses for a picture after scoring his 400th goal Thursday at Madison Square Garden in New York. David Backes (left) and T.J. Oshie (right) were credited with assists (Photo by St. Louis Blues)
Paul Kariya couldn't have chosen a better time to reach a new milestone.
Tied 3-3 in the third period at Madison Square Garden in a game crucial to the Blues' playoff hopes, Kariya took a centering pass from linemate T.J. Oshie
and fired a one-timer past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist with 11:36 remaining.
The goal stood as the game-winner, the Blues remained within striking distance of a playoff spot and Kariya was the hero.
The 35-year-old Blues forward became the 83rd player in NHL history to score 400 goals, joining an elite class that includes teammate Keith Tkachuk, Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Gordie Howe, Mark Messier and Luc Robitaille, just to name a few.
"I never really pay too much attention to stats," Kariya said after the game. "It's a nice milestone but the two points were more important. We're in a desperate situation where we need wins. It was nice to get the 400th in a win.
"I've been fortunate in my career to play with a lot of great players and received a lot of great passes. (It was a) terrific play."
Kariya’s NHL career has spanned 15 seasons and four different NHL teams.
Before joining St. Louis, the Vancouver, BC native spent two seasons with Nashville, one with Colorado and nine with Anaheim. The 5-10, 185 pound winger was signed as a free agent by St. Louis prior to the 2007-08 season and has accumulated 34 goals and 83 assists for 117 points in 157 games as a Blue. Outside of the NHL, the two-time former Olympian captured the Gold Medal with Team Canada at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games which earned him an induction into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
Thursday's milestone means the Blues have become the only team in the NHL with two active players to have scored more than 400 goals.
"Now (he's) about 135 behind me," Tkachuk joked after the game. "Not that I'm counting."
Blues forward David Backes
was also credited with an assist on Kariya's goal.
"I was on the bench when (Tkachuk) scored his 500th," Backes told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "To get an assist on a guy's 400th, you're not going to be on the ice for that many milestones, so it was pretty cool."
While he was happy to enjoy the moment and pose for pictures with the puck, Kariya is more focused on helping the Blues reach the postseason for the second consecutive year.
As of Friday morning, the Blues trailed the 8th place Detroit Red Wings by 5 points with 12 games left to play.
"Anything's possible," Kariya told NHL.com. "We play teams that we're going to need to catch, so it's in our hands and we have to keep winning games."
The Associated Press and St. Louis Post-Dispatch contributed to this story.