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Kovalchuk: Another achievement on the horizon

One appearance is all that separates Ilya Kovalchuk from his next milestone

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL / canadiens.com

MONTREAL - Veteran Ilya Kovalchuk is about to add another milestone to his already impressive resume.

Sitting one appearance shy of reaching the 900 games played mark for his NHL career, Kovalchuk will become just the 12th Russian-born player to accomplish the feat.

The list of those ahead of him in that department includes three Hall of Famers - Sergei Fedorov (1,248), Sergei Zubov (1,068) and Igor Larionov (921).

It also features three former Habs - Alexei Kovalev (1,316), Sergei Gonchar (1,301) and Andrei Markov (990).

Kovalev and Gonchar actually rank first and second all-time among Russian-born players in that category. Fedorov sits third.

In other words, the 36-year-old winger will be joining a rather elite group.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Kovy prepared a little surprise. 🙌#GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/FiURi96DR0

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Officiellement 🔵���🔴Officially bleu-blanc-rouge.#GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/g3E0NB82xJ

There's only one other active Russian-born player who boasts 900-plus games of NHL experience right now.

Alexander Ovechkin has played 1,129 games for the Washington Capitals over the course of his remarkable career.

After Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin ranks third with 882 games under his belt as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: "Just tap it in." 📽���#GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/EtBtsw9B3s

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Une passe de magicien. 🧙That pass was pure magic.#GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/9MhGOlo5Cf

Kovalchuk has been a welcome addition to the Canadiens' fold.

The highly-skilled forward made his presence felt rather quickly, collecting three assists in two games alongside his new teammates.

Among his countrymen, his production over the years has been nothing short of remarkable.

He ranks fifth all-time with 436 goals and seventh with 862 points.

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