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Make it 1,550 for Chelios

by Brian Compton /
Defenseman Chris Chelios will appear in his 1,550th game Monday night, as the Detroit Red Wings host the Edmonton Oilers at Joe Louis Arena.
What can you say about Detroit Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios, other than he keeps going and going and going.

The 45-year-old will move past former Detroit star Alex Delvecchio into eighth place on the all-time list on Monday night, when he appears in his 1,550th game as the Wings host the Edmonton Oilers at Joe Louis Arena.

Twenty-four seasons into his National Hockey League career, Chelios still remains both serviceable and inspirational in Hockeytown, evidenced by his plus-11 rating in 71 appearances last season. Monday night marks the 76th time in his career that Chelios will face the Oilers, who are off to a 2-0 start in 2007-08.

Should he remain healthy, Chelios could be sixth overall in games played by the end of this season. After Monday night, he’ll need to appear in another 63 contests to pass Raymond Bourque (1,612) and 66 to surpass Larry Murphy (1,615).

The Red Wings (1-0-1) have been the beneficiary of some scorching play by forward Henrik Zetterberg, who has a goal and four assists in Detroit’s first two games this season. Zetterberg led the Wings with 33 goals last season despite missing the final 19 games with back spasms. He came back in time for the playoffs and chipped in with six goals and eight assists.
Meanwhile, the Oilers are off to a terrific start, reeling off back-to-back wins to begin the new campaign. They used goals from Geoff Sanderson and Joni Pitkanen en route to a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.
“Geoff really played well and so did Joni,” Oilers defenseman Sheldon Souray said. “Especially Joni, being a young guy coming from another organization and only being in his second game here. He really put a good game in.”
As did Andrew Penner, as the power forward picked up his first goal as an Oiler after signing as a restricted free agent during the summer. Penner, who played for the Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks last season, did not register a point in six postseason contests against the Red Wings.
“It's important when you come to a new team under some fanfare to have some success early and I was happy for that,” Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said of Penner, who turned 25 on Sept. 28.
Dwayne Roloson is expected to be back in goal on Monday night for Edmonton after giving way to Mathieu Garon last Saturday. Roloson backstopped the Oilers to a first-round upset of the Wings in the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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