ANAHEIM -- There is an occasional fleeting moment when Anaheim Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano allows himself to think about his extraordinary consecutive games played streak.
Cogliano, then with the Edmonton Oilers, played his first NHL game Oct. 4, 2007 and hasn't missed a game during his career. He is expected to play in his 800th straight game when the Ducks play at the San Jose Sharks on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, PRIME, NHL.TV) after playing in No. 799 in a 5-3 loss to the Nashville Predators on Friday.
"I think there's the odd time where it pops in my head and you kind of wonder … you have a little bit of a second where you say it's pretty cool, I guess, or where it's pretty unique," Cogliano said Thursday.
His first NHL game also was against the Sharks, at Rexall Place in Edmonton. He had an assist in his NHL debut and among his Oilers teammates in that game were Sheldon Souray, Jarret Stoll, Matt Greene, Dustin Penner and goaltender Dwayne Roloson, all of whom are retired from the NHL.
Cogliano, 30, has the fourth-longest streak in NHL history, after Doug Jarvis (964), Gary Unger (914) and Steve Larmer (884).
Video: ANA@FLA: Cogliano whacks puck out of midair for goal
Not only is he a vital contributor, he leads the Ducks with nine points (three goals, six assists) in 13 games.
In an injury-riddled season for the Ducks, Cogliano's presence in the lineup is like a rare beacon of light. They're currently missing their top two centers, Ryan Getzlaf (facial injury) and Ryan Kesler (hip surgery); top-six forward Patrick Eaves (illness), and their No. 1 defenseman, Cam Fowler (knee).
"It is an accomplishment in today's travel and the ups and downs of the flu bug and the sicknesses and injuries," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "[Cogliano] has earned his stripes. He doesn't cheat you on his work ethic. He doesn't take short cuts."
Cogliano's teammates keep coming back to his exceptional work ethic and how he takes care of his body. "Freak would be one word," forward Chris Wagner said.
"Pretty amazing," forward Corey Perry said. "In this day and age, the way the game is played and how quick it is, how big players are and how fast. … He's a professional day in and day out. He does his work and puts his time in and it's definitely showing.
"I don't know how he does it. He's not afraid to do anything. He's the first guy in there. Hopefully it continues.
"You don't want to talk about it too much. I know he doesn't."
Video: NYI@ANA: Cogliano sweeps home early rebound
Cogliano's accomplishment especially is noteworthy considering he has played his entire career in the Western Conference, for the Oilers and the Ducks, teams with difficult travel schedules. Among active NHL players, the next longest streak of consecutive games played belongs to Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle (652).
While hard work has been a big part of his streak, Cogliano acknowledged that there is plenty of luck involved, as well as finding the right balance of rest and recovery in a hectic schedule. He also realized he could have been a healthy scratch while the Oilers were struggling during his four seasons there.
"There could have been games where the coach just didn't want to play me, wanting to healthy scratch different guys," he said. "I was never that guy. I think that was something maybe I always looked back on and been someone they wanted in the lineup.
"… As I keep playing, I hope that continues. And I just want to be someone, a guy the coaches want in because they think you'll help the team."