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Pregame Notes: Rangers vs. Avalanche 10.5.17

by New York Rangers @NYRangers /

Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
Rangers: 48-28-6 (102 pts)
Avalanche: 22-56-4 (48 pts)
* Records are from the 2016-17 regular season
The Rangers play their first game of the 2017-18 season tomorrow, Oct. 5, against the Colorado Avalanche at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The Blueshirts are opening their regular season schedule at home for the second consecutive season. Starting with tomorrow's game, the Rangers will play 10 of their first 13 games this season at MSG.


  • All-Time*: 39-32-7-6 (22-13-4-3 at home; 17-19-3-3 on the road) *Note: All-Time record includes games against the Quebec Nordiques from 1979-80 - 1994-95
  • 2017-18: Tomorrow's game is the first of two meetings between the Rangers and Avalanche this season, and the only meeting between the two teams at MSG. Following tomorrow's contest, the Rangers and Avalanche will play against each other on the following date: Jan. 20 (at Colorado).
  • 2016-17: The Rangers posted a 2-0-0 record (1-0-0 at home; 1-0-0 on the road). The Rangers outscored the Avalanche, 10-4, in the two contests. Henrik Lundqvist became the NHL's all-time leader in wins by a European-born goaltender when he earned his 390th career NHL win on Dec. 31, 2016 at Colorado, and he registered his 400th career NHL win on Feb. 11, 2017 against the Avalanche at MSG. Lundqvist also posted a 2.00 GAA and a .934 SV% (57 saves on 61 shots) in the season series. Chris Kreider led all skaters with three goals in the season series, and he tallied his second career NHL hat trick on Dec. 31, 2016 at Colorado. J.T. Miller registered three points (two goals, one assist) and posted a plus-three rating in the two games.
  • The Rangers have earned at least one point in seven of their last eight games against Colorado, dating back to Feb. 4, 2014 (5-1-2 record over the span).


  • Kevin Shattenkirk was selected by Colorado in the first round (14th overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, and he played part of his rookie season in the NHL with the Avalanche (2010-11).
  • Kevin Shattenkirk and Erik Johnson were traded for each other as part of a deal between Colorado and St. Louis on Feb. 19, 2011.
  • Nick Holden played three seasons with Colorado (2013-14 - 2015-16) and was acquired by the Rangers in a trade with the Avalanche on June 25, 2016.
  • Paul Carey was selected by Colorado in the fifth round (135th overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, and he played 22 games with the Avalanche over parts of two seasons (2013-14 and 2014-15).
  • Jimmy Vesey and Alex Kerfoot were teammates at Harvard University for three seasons (2013-14 - 2015-16). Vesey and Kerfoot were linemates during their tenure, and both players served as the team's captain (Vesey - 2015-16; Kerfoot - 2016-17).
  • Mika Zibanejad and Patrik Nemeth helped Sweden win a gold medal at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship. Zibanejad and Nemeth were also teammates with AIK's Under-18 team in Sweden during the 2008-09 season.
  • David Desharnais and Sven Andrighetto were teammates with Montreal for parts of three seasons (2014-15 - 2016-17).
  • Michael Grabner and Blake Comeau were teammates with the Islanders for parts of two seasons (2010-11 and 2011-12).
  • Pavel Buchnevich and Nikita Zadorov helped Russia earn a bronze medal at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Kevin Shattenkirk and Nail Yakupov were teammates with St. Louis for part of one season (2016-17).
  • Michael Grabner and Jonathan Bernier were teammates with Toronto for one season (2015-16).
  • Kevin Shattenkirk and Mikko Rantanen were teammates with TPS Turku in Liiga for part of one season (2012-13).
  • Jesper Fast, Gabriel Landeskog, and Patrik Nemeth all represented Sweden at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Colin Wilson's father, Carey, played parts of two seasons with the Rangers (1988-89 - 1989-90). Colin was born when his father was a member of the Rangers, and he is a native of Greenwich, Connecticut.
  • Patrik Nemeth's first head coach in the NHL was Lindy Ruff (Dallas - 2013-14 - 2016-17).
  • Chris Drury played four seasons with Colorado (1998-99 - 2001-02) and helped the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup in 2000-01.


  • Henrik Lundqvist - 11 GP, 5-3-3, 2.25 GAA, .924 SV% - Lundqvist has earned a win in each of his last three appearances against the Avalanche (1.67 GAA and .945 SV%). In addition, he has earned at least one point in each of his last six appearances against Colorado (4-0-2 record, 1.79 GAA, .941 SV%).
  • Rick Nash - 38 GP, 14-15-29 - Nash has tallied a point in each of his last four games against the Avalanche (two goals, three assists) and has registered 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in his last 19 contests against Colorado.
  • Kevin Shattenkirk - 25 GP, 5-14-19 - Shattenkirk has recorded an assist/point in each of his last four games against Colorado (seven assists). He registered five assists/points and posted a plus-six rating in two contests against the Avalanche in 2016-17.
  • Mats Zuccarello - 9 GP, 2-7-9 - Zuccarello has tallied a point in seven of nine career games against Colorado.
  • Kevin Hayes - 6 GP, 3-4-7 - Hayes has recorded a point in five of six career games against the Avalanche.
  • Ryan McDonagh - 7 GP, 1-6-7 - McDonagh has an assist/point in four of his last five games against Colorado, registering six points (one goal, five assists) over the span. 


  • Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Shattenkirk have represented the United States together in several tournaments, including the 2014 Winter Olympics, the 2011 IIHF World Championship, the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship, and the 2007 IIHF World U18 Championship. McDonagh, Shattenkirk, and Chris Kreider were all teammates with Team USA at the 2011 IIHF World Championship.
  • Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Brendan Smith were all selected in the first round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft (McDonagh - 12th overall by Montreal; Shattenkirk - 14th overall by Colorado; Smith - 27th overall by Detroit).
  • Ryan McDonagh and Brendan Smith were teammates at the University of Wisconsin for three seasons (2007-08 - 2009-10).
  • Paul Carey, Chris Kreider, and Kevin Hayes were all teammates at Boston College for two seasons (2010-11 and 2011-12) and helped Boston College win the National Championship in 2011-12; Carey and Kreider were teammates for three seasons (2009-10 - 2011-12) and helped Boston College win two National Championships (2009-10 and 2011-12).
  • Kevin Hayes and Jimmy Vesey were friends growing up in Massachusetts.
  • J.T. Miller and Jimmy Vesey helped the United States win a gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Kevin Hayes and Brady Skjei represented the United States at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.
  • Michael Grabner's first head coach in the NHL was Alain Vigneault (2009-10 with Vancouver).
  • Paul Carey and Nick Holden were teammates with Colorado for parts of two seasons (2013-14 and 2014-15).
  • Paul Carey and Kevin Shattenkirk were teammates with Washington for part of one season (2016-17).
  • Nick Holden and Rick Nash were teammates with Columbus for part of one season (2010-11).
  • Kevin Shattenkirk is a native of New Rochelle, New York. He was a Rangers fan growing up, and his favorite player was Brian Leetch. 

The Rangers are opening their regular season schedule at home for the 26th time in franchise history. The Blueshirts have posted a 38-36-14-2 record in their 90 home openers in franchise history, including an 11-9-5-0 record in home openers which were also their regular season opener. The Rangers have posted a 38-38-13-1 all-time record in their 90 regular season openers. In addition, New York has won each of its last three regular season openers and has posted an 8-3-1 record in 12 season-opening games since 2005-06.
For the first time in franchise history, the Rangers' season-opening roster does not include a player who has a single-digit jersey number. 
The Rangers posted a 21-6-1 record in games against Western Conference opponents last season. The Blueshirts led all Eastern Conference teams in wins against Western Conference opponents in 2016-17.
New York's season-opening roster features at least one player from seven different countries: the United States of America (Carey, DeAngelo, Hayes, Kampfer, Kreider, McDonagh, Miller, Shattenkirk, Skjei, and Vesey), Canada (Desharnais, Holden, Nash, Smith, and Staal), Sweden (Fast, Lundqvist, and Zibanejad), Czech Republic (Chytil and Pavelec), Austria (Grabner), Norway (Zuccarello), and Russia (Buchnevich).
10 IN 10
The Rangers will play 13 games in October this season, and 10 of the 13 contests during the month are at MSG. Over the last two seasons (2015-16 and 2016-17), New York posted a 10-2-1 record in 13 games at MSG in October. In addition, the Blueshirts earned at least one point in 15 of 20 contests in October over the last two seasons (13-5-2 record).
During the 2016-17 season, the Rangers outscored their opponents, 20-11, during 5-on-5 play when the Michael Grabner-Kevin Hayes-J.T. Miller line was on the ice (64.5% goals for percentage). The three players recorded 40 points (23 goals, 17 assists) over a 12-game span from Oct. 30, 2016 vs. Tampa Bay to Nov. 21, 2016 at Pittsburgh, and each player notched 12 or more points during the stretch.
The Rangers rank second in the National Hockey League in wins since the start of the 2014-15 season.
1. Washington Capitals - 156 (156-63-27 record)
2. New York Rangers - 147 (147-77-22 record)
3. St. Louis Blues - 146 (146-77-23 record)
4. Chicago Blackhawks - 145 (145-77-24 record)
5. Anaheim Ducks - 143 (143-72-31 record)
The Rangers' 147 wins over the last three seasons are the most earned in any three-season span in franchise history. The most wins the Blueshirts had previously earned in a three-season span was 144, which was accomplished twice (1970-71 - 1972-73 and 2013-14 - 2015-16).
The Blueshirts posted a 48-28-6 record and earned 102 points during the 2016-17 season. After earning a single-season franchise record 113 points in 2014-15 and registering 101 points during the 2015-16 season, the Rangers recorded 100 or more points in three consecutive seasons for the second time in franchise history (also accomplished the feat from 1970-71 - 1972-73). New York registered at least 100 points in a season for the 10th time in franchise history in 2016-17. The Rangers have earned at least 100 points in four of the last six seasons (2011-12; 2014-15 - 2016-17) and in five different seasons since 2005-06. The Blueshirts are one of four NHL teams that have recorded at least 100 points in each of the last three seasons (along with Anaheim, Chicago, and Washington).
The Blueshirts have advanced to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the last seven seasons (since 2010-11) and in 11 of the last 12 seasons (since 2005-06). The Rangers are one of three NHL teams that have made the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons, along with Chicago and Pittsburgh. The Rangers are one of four NHL teams that have reached the playoffs 11 times in the last 12 seasons, along with Detroit, Pittsburgh, and San Jose. The Blueshirts are the only NHL team that has not been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention prior to the start of a regular season game over the 12-year span.
Since the start of the 2014-15 season, the Rangers lead the NHL in shooting percentage (8.9) and are tied for third in the NHL in save percentage (.929) at 5-on-5.






1. New York Rangers


1. Chicago Blackhawks


T-2. Washington Capitals


2. Washington Capitals


T-2. Minnesota Wild


T-3. New York Rangers


4. New York Islanders


T-3. Montreal Canadiens


T-5. Calgary Flames


T-3. Ottawa Senators


T-5. Tampa Bay Lightning


6. New Jersey Devils


The Blueshirts also lead the NHL in shooting plus save percentage (1019) and goals for (510) at 5-on-5 over the span. The Rangers led the NHL in both categories during the 2015-16 season (9.0 shooting percentage and .934 save percentage).
Alain Vigneault leads all NHL head coaches in wins since the start of the 2006-07 season (505). Vigneault is entering his fifth season as the Rangers' Head Coach, and he is the first head coach to begin five consecutive seasons behind the Rangers bench since Phil Watson from 1955-56 - 1959-60. He guided the Rangers to a playoff appearance in each of his first four seasons as the team's head coach, and he is one of three head coaches in franchise history who have helped the Rangers make the playoffs in at least four consecutive seasons (along with Lester Patrick and Emile Francis). Entering the 2017-18 season, Vigneault ranks third among Rangers head coaches in career wins (192), and ranks fourth in career games coached (328) and career points (412). In addition, Vigneault is one of three active NHL head coaches who have received four Jack Adams Award nominations as the league's top head coach (along with Ken Hitchcock and John Tortorella).
Henrik Lundqvist is expected to make his 12th consecutive start in a season-opening game with the Rangers (dating back to 2006-07). By starting the regular season opener in 2017-18, Lundqvist would become the first goaltender in franchise history to start 12 season-opening games, as well as 12 consecutive regular season openers (Ed Giacomin started in 11 consecutive regular season openers from 1965-66 - 1975-76).
Entering the 2017-18 season, Lundqvist is approaching several career milestones, including:

  • On the NHL's all-time wins list (Lundqvist enters the season in 10th place with 405):
  • 3 wins away from passing Glenn Hall for sole possession of 9th place (407)
  • 19 wins away from passing Tony Esposito for sole possession of 8th place (423)
  • 33 wins away from passing Jacques Plante for sole possession of 7th place (437)
  • On the NHL's all-time appearances list (Lundqvist enters the season in 21st place with 742): 
  • 3 appearances away from passing Chris Osgood for sole possession of 20th place (744)
  • 36 appearances away from passing Tom Barrasso for sole possession of 19th place (777)
  • 40 appearances away from passing Mike Vernon for sole possession of 18th place (781)
  • 47 appearances away from passing Gilles Meloche for sole possession of 17th place (788)
  • 54 appearances away from passing Rogie Vachon for sole possession of 16th place (795)
  • 58 appearances away from passing Nikolai Khabibulin for sole possession of 15th place (799)
  • 58 appearances away from 800 in his NHL career/with the Rangers
  • Would become the first European-born goaltender to appear in 800 career NHL games (and become the NHL's all-time leader in appearances by a European-born goaltender, passing Khabibulin)
  • Would be the first goaltender to appear in 800 games with the Rangers and the 15th goaltender in league history to appear in 800 career NHL games
  • Would be the third goaltender in NHL history to appear in at least 800 career games with one franchise (Brodeur - New Jersey; Esposito - Chicago) and the second goaltender to appear in all of his first 800 NHL games with the same team (Brodeur - New Jersey)
  • 14 wins away from passing Tony Esposito for the second-most a goaltender has earned with one franchise in league history
1. Martin Brodeur (NJD)
2. Tony Esposito (CHI)
3. Henrik Lundqvist (NYR)
  • 693 saves away from 20,000 in his NHL career/with the Rangers
  • Would become first goaltender in Rangers history to make 20,000 saves 

Filip Chytil, who was selected by the Rangers in the first round (21st overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, made the Rangers' opening night roster. If he plays in the Rangers' regular season opener, Chytil, who will be 18 years and 30 days old on Oct. 5, would become...
the fourth-youngest player to appear in a game with the Rangers in franchise history; the only players who were younger were Harry Lumley (17 years, 42 days on Dec. 23, 1943), Len Wharton (17 years, 81 days on Mar. 4, 1945), and Don Raleigh (17 years, 125 days on Oct. 30, 1943). *note is per the Elias Sports Bureau
the first 18-year-old to appear in a game with the Rangers since Dan Blackburn on Apr. 13, 2002 at Philadelphia.
the first 18-year-old skater (forward or defenseman) to play in a game with the Rangers since Manny Malhotra on Apr. 18, 1999 vs. Pittsburgh (the contest was Wayne Gretzky's final NHL game).
Chytil was named the winner of the 2017 Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award, which is given annually to the top Rangers rookie in Training Camp as selected by the media. Chytil became the first Ranger to win the Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award in the same year he was selected in the NHL Entry Draft since Dan Blackburn in 2001. In addition, he is one of four players who have won the award in the same year they were drafted by the Rangers, along with Blackburn, Filip Novak (2000), and Manny Malhotra (1998).
Kevin Shattenkirk is expected to make his Rangers debut in tomorrow's contest. The New Rochelle, New York, native established career-highs in assists (43), points (56), power play goals (eight), and power play points (27) last season, and he was one of four NHL defensemen who recorded at least 10 goals and 40 assists in 2016-17 (along with Brent Burns, Victor Hedman, and Erik Karlsson). Shattenkirk is one of 14 defensemen in NHL history who have registered 30 or more assists and 40 or more points in at least six of his first seven seasons in the league; among the other 13 defensemen are Ray Bourque, Denis Potvin, Paul Coffey, and Nicklas Lidstrom. In addition, since Shattenkirk entered the NHL in 2010-11, he is one of four NHL defensemen who have tallied at least 30 assists and at least 40 points in six different seasons (along with Erik Karlsson, Duncan Keith, and Keith Yandle).
Since the start of the 2011-12 season, Shattenkirk ranks second among NHL defensemen in power play points (131), and he ranks third among NHL defensemen in power play goals (32) and power play assists (99). Shattenkirk is the only defenseman who ranks third or higher in all three categories over the span. Shattenkirk has registered 25 or more power play points in each of the last four seasons (2013-14 - 2016-17). He is one of only two NHL defensemen who have tallied at least 25 power play points in every season during the stretch (along with Erik Karlsson).
Ryan McDonagh was selected as the Rangers' Most Valuable Player in 2016-17, marking the second time he has received the award in his career (he was also named the team's MVP in 2013-14). McDonagh is one of three defensemen in franchise history who have been named the Rangers' MVP in at least two different seasons since the award was first presented in 1941-42 (Brian Leetch - six times; Barry Beck - twice). McDonagh was one of six NHL defensemen who registered at least 40 points and posted a plus-20 rating or better during the 2016-17 season (along with Duncan Keith, Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Justin Schultz, and Jake Gardiner). McDonagh is the only Ranger in franchise history who posted a plus-11 rating or better in each of his first seven NHL seasons. In addition, McDonagh leads the NHL in plus/minus rating since the start of the 2014-15 season (plus-69), and he has posted a plus-20 rating or better in each season over the span.
McDonagh is entering his fourth season as the Rangers' captain after being named the 27th captain in franchise history on October 6, 2014. Entering the 2017-18 season, McDonagh has played in 221 games as the Rangers' captain, which is the seventh-most in franchise history.
Entering the 2017-18 season - most games played as Rangers captain
1. Mark Messier - 697
2. Bill Cook - 475
3. Bob Nevin - 449
4. Barry Beck - 307
5. George "Red" Sullivan - 280
6. Kelly Kisio - 233
7. Ryan McDonagh - 221
8. Phil Esposito - 220
9. Art Coulter - 218
10. Vic Hadfield - 218
11. Brian Leetch - 208
12. Andy Bathgate - 196
13. Chris Drury - 182
14. Dave Maloney - 180
15. Neil Colville - 178
16. Ryan Callahan - 166
17. Jaromir Jagr - 164
18. Harry Howell - 155
19. Ott Heller - 140
20. Don Raleigh - 129
21. Allan Stanley - 102
22. Frank Eddolls - 88
23. Ron Greschner - 78 
24. Brad Park - 78
25. Buddy O'Connor - 66
26. Camille Henry - 61
27. Walt Tkaczuk - 20
Note: does not include games in which a player wore the "C" but was not officially the team's captain (ex: games when Brian Leetch wore the "C" when Mark Messier was injured during the 2001-02 season are not included in Leetch's total number of games as the Rangers captain)
Mats Zuccarello was named an alternate captain today, joining Ryan McDonagh (captain), Rick Nash (alternate captain), and Marc Staal (alternate captain) as players who will wear a letter as part of the leadership group. Zuccarello established career-highs in several categories during the 2016-17 season, including assists (44), even strength assists (35), even strength points (45), takeaways (70), and shots on goal (189). Zuccarello led the Rangers in assists, points (59), even strength assists, takeaways, and shootout goals (four), and tied for the team lead in even strength points in 2016-17. Zuccarello has led the team in points in each of the last two seasons, as well as in three of the last four seasons (2013-14, 2015-16, and 2016-17). He is the first Ranger who has led the team in points in back-to-back seasons since Jaromir Jagr. Over the last 25 seasons (since 1991-92), Zuccarello is one of only four Rangers who have led the team in points in at least two straight seasons. The other three are Mark Messier (1991-92 - 1992-93; 1994-95 - 1995-96), Wayne Gretzky (1996-97 - 1998-99), and Jaromir Jagr (2005-06 - 2007-08).
Rick Nash is one of only two NHL players who have registered 20 or more goals in 12 different seasons since 2003-04 (along with Alex Ovechkin). Entering the 2017-18 season, Nash is 11 games away from skating in his 1,000th career NHL game. Since he joined the Rangers prior to the start of the 2012-13 season, Nash leads the team in goals (127), game-winning goals (27), and shots on goal (1,116), and he is tied for 12th in the NHL (min. 100 games played) in goals per game (0.40) over the span.
During the 2016-17 season, Brady Skjei became the first Rangers defenseman and/or the first Rangers rookie defenseman to accomplish several feats since Brian Leetch, such as:

  • the first Rangers defenseman to tally at least 30 assists in his rookie season
  • the first Rangers defenseman to record at least 39 points in his rookie season
  • the first Rangers defenseman to register at least 20 even strength assists in his rookie season
  • the first Rangers rookie defenseman to post a six-game assist/point streak
  • the first Rangers defenseman to either lead the team or tie for the team lead in goals in one playoff year
  • the first Rangers defenseman to tally at least two goals in one playoff game
  • the first Rangers rookie defenseman to register at least two goals in one playoff year

Skjei was selected to the NHL's All-Rookie Team in 2016-17. He became the third defenseman in Rangers history to be selected to the league's All-Rookie Team (Brian Leetch - 1988-89; Michael Del Zotto - 2009-10). Skjei led all NHL rookies with 27 even strength assists in 2016-17. He became the first NHL rookie defenseman to register at least 27 even strength assists in his rookie season since Larry Murphy in 1980-81. In addition, Skjei tied for fourth among NHL defensemen in even strength assists last season - he only trailed Duncan Keith, Erik Karlsson, and Brent Burns, and was tied with Victor Hedman.
Draft (8): Buchnevich, Chytil, Fast, Kreider, Lundqvist, Miller, Skjei, Staal
Free Agency (8): Carey, Desharnais, Grabner, Hayes*, Pavelec, Shattenkirk, Vesey*, Zuccarello*
Trade (7): DeAngelo, Holden, Kampfer, McDonagh*, Nash, Smith, Zibanejad
*Although they were not drafted by the Rangers, Hayes, McDonagh, Vesey, and Zuccarello have not played in the NHL with a team other than the Rangers
The Rangers posted a 21-5-1 record when outscoring their opponent on special teams in 2016-17.
Power Play:
The Rangers tied for 10th in the NHL in power play efficiency in 2016-17 (20.2%; 47-for-233).
Penalty Kill:
New York tied for sixth in the NHL in shorthanded goals in 2016-17 (nine).
Kevin Shattenkirk - 2 points away from 300 in his NHL career
Jesper Fast (offseason hip surgery)
Oct. 2 - Agreed to terms with Brandon Crawley on an entry-level contract

  • Oct. 4, 1991 - The Rangers acquired Mark Messier in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers.
  • Oct. 5, 1983 - The Rangers established a single-game franchise record with three shorthanded goals and Don Maloney tied a single-game franchise record by recording two shorthanded goals as the Blueshirts defeated the New Jersey Devils, 6-2, in their 1983-84 season opener.
  • Oct. 5, 1991 - Mark Messier played in his first game as a Ranger and recorded his first assist/point with the Blueshirts. The Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 2-1, in overtime in Montreal, as Sergei Nemchinov tallied the game-winning goal in overtime.
  • Oct. 5, 1996 - Wayne Gretzky made his Rangers debut as the Blueshirts and Boston Bruins played to a 4-4 tie in Boston. Adam Graves tallied two goals and Mark Messier registered three assists in the contest.
  • Oct. 5, 2006 - Jaromir Jagr was named the 24th captain in Rangers history prior to the start of the Rangers' season opener, and he tallied a goal on the team's first shot of the season 29 seconds into the contest. The Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals, 5-2, at MSG, as Brendan Shanahan registered two goals in his Rangers debut, including his 600th career NHL goal.
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