DALLAS -- Before celebrating his eighth goal of the season in the Stars' 4-1 rout of the Detroit Red Wings, veteran forward Joe Pavelski had another reason to celebrate: His 1,000th career NHL game.
Though technically skating in his 1,005th contest on Friday, the Stars honored Pavelski's league-recognized milestone -- which was officially reached on Dec. 20 against Florida -- before Friday's contest in a special ceremony.
Joined at center ice by his family, including his son, Nate, who was dressed in full hockey uniform as the team's "Junior Starter of the Game," Pavelski received several gifts, a special video tribute and a heartwarming message from former Sharks teammate Joe Thornton.
Video: DET@DAL: Pavelski on 'fun night' in Stars' victory
For his accomplishment, Pavelski was presented with a special engraved crystal plaque by Stars president Brad Alberts, a golf trip for four to Scotland from his teammates and a silver stick from Stars general manager Jim Nill.
He also received several shoutouts on the videoboard throughout the game from notable figures from his career such as current Kings and former Sharks coach Todd McLellan, San Jose defenseman Brent Burns and former Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk among others.
"Just a fun night right from the start," Pavelski said. "All day. The ceremony, it was pretty cool to see old teammates and different teammates give some of the messages. ... Just a fun day all around, and awesome to have all the friends and family here today to share it with."
Pavelski's fun didn't end there, though. He also netted an unassisted goal on a great steal-and-score play at the red line to put an exclamation point on his night and Dallas' fourth straight victory.
Video: DET@DAL: Pavelski steals puck and scores
"Playing a thousand games talks about skill and ability, but it also talks about character," Stars interim coach Rick Bowness said. "It was a great honor for him tonight, and he responded with an excellent game.
"It's not easy when you come from one team that you've been with for so long to another team -- it's a lot easier said than done. It doesn't happen overnight, but he's feeling more and more comfortable here and he's a big part of our hockey club."
Photos by Sean Berry / Dallas Stars
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Jeff Odom is the manager of DallasStars.com and writes about the Stars/NHL. Follow him on Twitter @jeffodom.