PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Nick Schultz will play his 1,000th NHL game Wednesday when the Boston Bruins visit Wells Fargo Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports).
Schultz, 34, will become the 301st player and the 103rd defenseman to play 1,000 games.
"Just fortunate to get a chance to play this long and play in the League," Schultz said. "It's an honor to be part of it; a dream come true. You want to play in the NHL and be fortunate to play for a long time."
The Flyers (18-15-7) signed Schultz in July 2014 as a depth defenseman. But injuries early in the 2014-15 season opened a spot in the lineup and Schultz has played too well to come out. The Flyers have played 122 games the past two seasons entering Wednesday, and Schultz has been in the lineup for 119 of them.
"I love playing with him," said Mark Streit, who has been Schultz's defense partner most of the past two seasons. "Makes my life way easier. We have great chemistry. ... His game is more of a defensive game and mine is to chip in offensively. I think we accommodate each other really great. Makes my life way easier. I got a little bit more freedom to jump in the play and he backs me up. I love playing with him."
In 999 games with the Minnesota Wild, Edmonton Oilers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Flyers, Schultz has 29 goals and 166 points. He has five points in 39 games this season.
But more than his on-ice play, Schultz has been a role model for his teammates.
"He's been a leader on every single team he's played on, and I think playing with him over the last two years you can see why," forward Wayne Simmonds said. "He's great in the dressing room, he's great on the ice. He's really good with the younger guys."
Schultz said he has friends and family members in Philadelphia to celebrate the occasion, but he'll try to treat Wednesday like any other game. The importance of playing a conference rival will make that a bit easier. The Flyers, who have won three straight games, are four points behind the Bruins for the final Eastern Conference wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"It's a huge game for us," he said. "We have to go out and keep going where we left off against the Islanders [a 4-0 win Saturday]. Big for us to keep that momentum. Go out and play hard. It is very important. Nice to have it be an important game. Guys are going to play hard and put in a good effort."
Boston (21-15-5), playing the first of three games in four nights and the fourth game of a stretch of six in nine days, had an optional skate Wednesday.
"We've been doing that for a good portion of this year," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Those morning skates sometimes can be put as optionals or even totally keep the team off."
Among those on the ice was right wing Jimmy Hayes, who likely will start the game on a line with center Patrice Bergeron and left wing Brad Marchand. They skated as a line at practice Tuesday.
Hayes has two goals in his past three games and said he hopes to keep that strong play going with a move up the lineup.
"It's nice to have the opportunity to play with two guys like that," Hayes said. "Have to continue to play he way I'm playing, be who I am, and continue to make strides. ... Be hard around the net and continue to get to those areas to score some goals."
Here are the projected lineups:
Matt Beleskey - Ryan Spooner - Loui Eriksson
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Jimmy Hayes
Frank Vatrano - Joonas Kemppainen - David Pastrnak
Zac Rinaldo - Max Talbot - Landon Ferraro
Zdeno Chara - Zach Trotman
Dennis Seidenberg - Colin Miller
Torey Krug - Kevan Miller
Injured: David Krejci (upper body), Adam McQuaid (upper body), Chris Kelly (broken left femur)
Scratched: Joe Morrow, Tyler Randell, Brett Connolly
Jakub Voracek - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl - Sean Couturier - Brayden Schenn
Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Ryan White
Matt Read - Scott Laughton - R.J. Umberger
Michael Del Zotto - Radko Gudas
Nick Schultz - Mark Streit
Evgeny Medvedev - Brandon Manning
Injured: Shayne Gostisbehere (lower body)
Scratched: Jordan Weal
Status report: Randell and Morrow stayed on the ice after the optional practice for extra work. ... Gustavsson was part of the on-ice group, which likely means Rask will make his third straight start Wednesday. ... Gostisbehere was a full participant in the morning skate but will miss his second straight game. He is listed as day-to-day and could play Saturday against the New York Rangers. ... Mason will be in goal Wednesday for the third straight game.
Who's hot: Spooner has one goal and six assists in his past six games. ... Couturier has goals in three straight games, and six goals and six assists in his past 10 games.