MONTREAL - Only four days after Bryan Smolinski’s milestone game against the Boston Bruins on Monday, it is Alex Kovalev’s turn to skate in his 1,000th NHL regular season game as the Canadiens will play the Hurricanes in Carolina on Friday.
The first Soviet player to be selected in the first round of the NHL Draft, Alex Kovalev is the third member of the Canadiens to reach the 1,000 game milestone since the start of the season after Roman Hamrlik (October 3) and Bryan Smolinski (October 22) and will be among five NHLers (Owen Nolan, Calgary, October 22 and Mike Sillinger, Islanders, expected to reach 1,000 games on November 1) to join this elite club since the start of the 2007-08 season.
When Alex Kovalev takes to the ice on Friday night, he will play his 163rd game with the Canadiens, the fourth highest total in team history for a Russian-born player after only Andrei Markov
(419), Oleg Petrov (365) and Vladimir Malakhov (282). The Canadiens’ right winger, who is only one point shy of 800 NHL career points (337 goals, 462 assists) will become the fourth Russian player to reach the 1,000 games plateau joining his countrymen Sergei Fedorov, Alexei Zhitnik and Sergei Zubov.
Kovalev’s 1,000th game comes against the same team he faced in his NHL debut back on October 12, 1992. On that night he also scored his first NHL goal, beating goaltender Sean Burke when the franchise was located in Hartford. Kovalev will become the 222nd player to play 1,000 games in the NHL and the 10th player to do so in a Canadiens uniform after Henri Richard, Claude Provost, Frank Mahovlich, Larry Robinson, Bob Gainey, Jean Béliveau, Stéphane Quintal, Roman Hamrlik and Bryan Smolinski.
|Russian-born players with 1,000 NHL games (active) |
|Sergei Fedorov - 1,137 |
Alex Kovalev - 1,000
|Alexei Zhitnik - 1,030 |
Peter Bondra* - 1,081
|Sergei Zubov - 1,022 |
|* Peter Bondra was born in the Ukraine but was raised in Slovakia and played for Slovakia in international tournaments. |
|1,000 games with the Canadiens ||1,000th game with the Canadiens ||Alex Kovalev in the NHL |
|Henri Richard - 1,256 |
Larry Robinson - 1,202
Bob Gainey - 1,160
Jean Beliveau - 1,125
Claude Provost - 1,005
|Frank Mahovlich |
|NY Rangers (2) - 492 games |
Pittsburgh - 345 games
Canadiens - 163 games