MTL@PIT: Penguins honor Eller's 1,000th career game

As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Lars Eller was plenty worthy for his milestone on Saturday.

The Pittsburgh Penguins forward reached 1,000 career NHL games on Saturday when he took the ice against the Montreal Canadiens at PPG Paints Arena. To celebrate the milestone, his teammates wore his No. 20 jersey while also copying his pregame stretching routine on the ice during warmups.

Before puck drop Eller was joined on the ice by his wife Julie, kids Sophia and Alex, as well as Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas to watch a special tribute video.

“That’s kind of what it’s all about, sharing the special moments with these guys in here and the people that are closest to me," Eller said. "It couldn’t be better."

The video showed some of Eller’s career highlights, including winning the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals in 2018. Current teammates Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Erik Karlsson spoke in the video, along with former teammates such as Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson and T.J. Oshie from the Capitals.

“Everybody likes and appreciates recognition, but I don’t necessarily like all the spotlight," Eller said. "I see myself as a good soldier. It’s weird. In hockey, it’s always about the team and you win together and you lose together. Some nights, it’s about the individual but it’s odd for us as players."

Eller was then given a commemorative silver stick and a plaque from Crosby, Malkin and Letang.

Eller is the first Danish-born player in NHL history to reach the milestone.

"Fantastic night. I wouldn’t have had it any other way," Eller said. “Just once every 1,000 games is OK. Awesome moments, awesome night.”

- NHL Independent Correspondent Wes Crosby contributed to this report.