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Joe Thornton of Sharks gets 1,000th assist

Forward becomes 13th NHL player to reach milestone with one against Jets

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Thornton's 1,000th career assist

SJS@WPG: Thornton records 1,000th assist on late goal

Joe Thornton picks up the secondary assist on Joe Pavelski's empty-net tally, becoming the 13th player in NHL history to record 1,000 assists

  • 00:53 •

Joe Thornton became the 13th NHL player to reach 1,000 assists with one on Monday.

The San Jose Sharks forward assisted on Joe Pavelski's empty-net goal with 26 seconds left in the third period of a 3-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets.

"What can I say? It's pretty cool to get there," Thornton said. "I've been waiting a while now, but to get it over with, it's kind of nice. But good game for the guys overall tonight. It was a good win.

"It's always nice to get these things when you get the two points and you can have some fun on the plane on the way home."

Tweet from @PR_NHL: Joe Thornton recorded a helper on the game-winning goal to become the 13th player in NHL history to earn 1,000 assists. #Jumbo1000 pic.twitter.com/Z8xk3omMaC

Thornton has 36 assists in 65 games this season. He got No. 999 on Feb. 28 in a 3-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but then went two games without one.

The 37-year-old has played 1,432 NHL games and has 715 assists in 900 games with San Jose. He had 285 in 532 games with the Boston Bruins.

Thornton had an NHL career-high 96 assists in 2005-06, the season when he was traded to the Sharks by the Bruins. He had 63 last season, his eighth season with at least 60, and has had at least 49 in every full NHL season since 2002-03.

"I think 13 guys in the history of the game (have 1,000 assists)," San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. "It's an incredible number. An incredible accomplishment. Just something I'll tell my grandkids that I was on the bench and witnessed it. He's a great player."

Wayne Gretzky holds the NHL record with 1,963 assists; Ron Francis is second with 1,249. Jaromir Jagr leads active players with 1,142, fifth in NHL history. Joe Sakic ranks 12th with 1,016.

Thornton has 382 goals to give him 1,382 points, ranking 23rd in NHL history. He was the No. 1 pick in the 1997 NHL Draft by Boston.

NHL.com correspondent Scott Billeck contributed to this story.

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