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Jarome Iginla scores 600th NHL goal, 19th to do so

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche right wing Jarome Iginla might have been just as relieved Monday as he was excited after scoring the 600th NHL goal that had eluded him for three games, a stretch that probably seemed to have gone on much longer.

Iginla became the 19th player in League history to score 600 goals during a power play at 13:20 of the third period in a 4-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings at Pepsi Center.

"It is a little bit (of a relief)," Iginla, 38, said. "Especially at 599, every time you get a chance, I'm thinking, 'Oh maybe this will be it, this will be it.' And you want to do it at home. Now it's done and time to move forward."

Iginla joined Jaromir Jagr as the only active players to score 600, and Jari Kurri and Joe Sakic as the ones to have accomplished the feat while playing for the Avalanche.

After taking a pass from Tyson Barrie, Iginla skated down the lefty circle and made a centering pass that hit Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin's skate and bounced behind goalie Jhonas Enroth.

"I do feel very blessed to play as long as I have, to play with as many playmakers," Iginla said. [Alex Tanguay] is one of the best I've ever played with. I've gotten so many good looks. To score that many, it's a little bit surreal. When I started, I didn't think I would get to 600 or 500.

"You just play and you want to be in the League. You want to win and you want to be a part of the NHL. As each year goes by you just keep going, keep battling, and time flies. I never would have guessed this. It's pretty neat. I think my family and friends enjoy this. One day I think I'll appreciate it that much more, although I do today.

"I think back and remember being in pee wee and watching Rock'Em Sock'Em Hockey (videos) and watching guys on that list play. You dream of just getting to the NHL and it's been a lot of fun to play as many years as I have with the players I have."

Iginla's goal was his 182nd on power plays, moving him ahead of Mike Bossy into sole possession of 26th place on the all-time list. He tied Mike Gartner for 24th place on the career list for games played at 1,432.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter was happy for Iginla, having coached him with the Calgary Flames when they advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004. Calgary lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games.

"Think about 600 goals, just put it in perspective, he’s averaged over 30 goals a year," Sutter said. "There's guys in the League now that won't score five. Pretty spectacular. He was out on the ice early this morning, how hard he trains, he's probably got another hundred in him if he wants."

Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon, 20, called it an honor to be able to play with Iginla. He was a year old when Iginla played his first regular-season game with the Flames in 1996.

BEHIND THE NUMBERS

Iginla has place among best scorers

By Rob Vollman - NHL.com Correspondent
Digging deeper into the numbers, an argument can be made that Jarome Iginla is one of the top 10 goal-scorers in history, possibly one of the top five. READ MORE ›

"He's a machine," MacKinnon said. "He's in the best shape on our team at 38. He scores big goals, he got (29) last year. To go along with that, he's an awesome guy, I love talking to him. We talk a lot and he's really good with the young guys here. He loves talking about the game and what he thinks about his career, how the game has changed. You need to take advantage of that because I'll never play with someone like Iggy again. He's a legend."

Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov had a good view of Iginla's goal, even though he was nearly 200 feet away.

"I was real excited for Iggy," Varlamov said. "He's got such a great career. When I was young, I was looking at him like an idol. He is an idol for lots of players and kids. Probably everybody is wishing to have the same career as him. He's a great teammate and it's nice to be a part of it."

Iginla was especially happy to have scored at Pepsi Center with his wife and three children in attendance. His parents and other family members were back home after attending the New Year's Eve game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

"My mom and dad were here for the holidays, my brothers," he said. "It would have been neat to get it earlier, but I appreciate just getting it. I know they're watching on TV and they didn't mind going home. You never know when you're going to get it; you can't just stay around and put pressure on you. They booked their trip and that was the way it went."

A first-round pick (No. 11) of the Dallas Stars in the 1995 NHL Draft, Iginla was traded to the Flames with Corey Millen for Joe Nieuwendyk on Dec. 19, 1995. He scored against the Blackhawks in his second NHL game -- Game 4 of the Western Conference quarterfinals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 1996 -- on April 23, 1996 after being called up from Kamloops of the Western Hockey League.

Iginla scored his first goal in his first regular-season game on Oct. 5, 1996 against the Ottawa Senators.

He had 525 goals in 1,219 games with the Flames, five in 13 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2012-13, 30 in 78 games with the Boston Bruins in 2013-14 and 40 in 122 games with the Avalanche after signing as a free agent on July 1, 2014.

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