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Lidstrom earns 1,000th career point

by John Kreiser
Nicklas Lidstrom already has enough individual NHL awards, Stanley Cup rings and international hockey accomplishments to fill a wall-sized trophy case. On Thursday night, he added something unique to his collection.

Lidstrom had a pair of assists against Los Angeles to become the first European-born defenseman to reach 1,000 points for his career.

Lidstrom assisted on Tomas Holmstrom's go-ahead power-play goal 8:47 into the second period, then reached the 1,000-point milestone 3:24 into the third when his blast from the left point was tipped by Henrik Zetterberg and sailed past Jonathan Quick to make it 3-1.

The fans at Joe Louis Arena gave Lidstrom a long standing ovation, continuing to applaud through a TV timeout as the 39-year-old smiled on the bench.

The 18-year NHL veteran is eighth on the list of all-time NHL defensive scorers, trailing only Ray Bourque (1,579), Paul Coffey (1,531), Al MacInnis (1,274), Phil Housley (1,232), Larry Murphy (1,216), Denis Potvin (1,052) and Brian Leetch (1,028). He's the 74th player in NHL history to reach the 1,000-point mark.

Lidstrom, who has 228 goals and 772 assists -- but had just one point, a goal, in Detroit's five games this season -- has scored more points than any other defenseman who's ever worn the Winged Wheel and ranks fourth among all scorers in team history. His 80 points in 2005-06 is also the single-season record for most points by a Detroit defenseman.

"When I first started in the league, it was something I never thought would happen,"  Lidstrom told the Red Wings' Web site recently. "First of all, I didn’t think I was going to reach 1,000 games, let alone, reaching 1,000 points. So that’s something that I’m very proud of to be closing in on."

Lidstrom already owns a few firsts -- he became the first European-born winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy when he led the Wings to the Stanley Cup in 2002, and six years later, he was the first European captain of a Cup-winning team when the Wings won again in 2008.

In addition to three Stanley Cup rings, Lidstrom also has an Olympic gold medal after leading Sweden to first place in the 2006 Games. Individually, he has won the Norris Trophy six times, more than anyone in history except Bobby Orr (8) and Doug Harvey (7). 
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