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Jaromir Jagr continues to amaze Panthers teammates

44-year-old will move into seventh on NHL games-played list when Florida plays at Toronto on Thursday

by David Alter / Correspondent

TORONTO -- Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr will reach another milestone on Thursday. Jagr, 44, will move into sole possession of seventh in NHL games played with 1,636, when he takes the ice against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"It's amazing what he can do" Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "It's a credit to him, he works out hard and that's why he's still playing in the league. He believes he has to work every day and that's what he does and that's why he's still doing it."

Jagr will pass Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Stevens. Jagr matched Stevens' total of 1,635 games on Tuesday in a 3-2 loss at the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Jagr's teammates continue to be in awe of his ability to play at a high level. He scored his 750th NHL goal on Oct. 21, becoming the third player in League history to reach that mark.

Video: WSH@FLA: Jagr nets PPG for 750th of career

He's had an impact on newcomer Jonathan Marchessault, who has three goals and five assists and has been playing on a line with Jagr and forward Aleksander Barkov.

"He's inspiring the way he works on and off the ice," Marchessault said. "It's fun to be able to be with a guy like that."

While the NHL continues to get younger and faster, Jagr continues to defy the odds with his ability to contribute.

"As a teammate and a fan of the game, it's amazing, it's fun to watch on a daily basis and receive his passes," 20-year-old defenseman Aaron Ekblad said. "He's a living legend in the game, and it's truly special to play with him every night."

Jagr is four games away from matching Dave Andreychuk, who's sixth with 1,639 games played. Fourth-place Mark Recchi played in 1,652, a mark Jagr could surpass before Christmas.

"I think a lot of the guys feed off his work ethic," goaltender Roberto Luongo said. "Not a lot of guys I've seen in my career do the things he's done. It's amazing to see a guy that age have that kind of dedication to the game."

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