Kessel of Golden Knights breaks NHL consecutive games played record

Phil Kessel played his 990th consecutive NHL game Tuesday, breaking the record held by Keith Yandle, when the Vegas Golden Knights played at the San Jose Sharks.

The 35-year-old forward also scored his 400th NHL goal on his sixth shift of the game, warding off Sharks defenseman Matt Benning and chipping a shot over James Reimer to give the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead at 15:51.

“Obviously, I’ve played a while,” Kessel told ESPN. “But it’s a special night for me. … It’s a good night.”

Kessel tied Yandle for the games played record on Monday, when he had an assist in a 3-1 home win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has not missed a game since Oct. 31, 2009, when he did not play for the Maple Leafs in a 5-4 shootout loss at the Montreal Canadiens because of offseason shoulder surgery.

“I’ve played a lot of games, and you always want to win,” Kessel said after the game Monday. “It’s better when you win, and if we can do it tomorrow, it’d be great. … I always want to play. There’s games you’re going to miss throughout your career, but I’ve been fortunate so far.”

Kessel is on track to play his 1,000th consecutive game against the Arizona Coyotes in Las Vegas on Nov. 17.

“When you think about it, it’s really incredible,” Vegas center Jack Eichel said last week. “You rarely see a guy play the full 82 games for the whole season. And for him to do it for so many seasons in a row, it’s pretty impressive.”

Kessel has three points (one goal, two assists) in eight games this season, his first with the Golden Knights after signing a one-year, $1.5 million contract Aug. 24.

“I’ve always been the guy that would rather play than sit out,” Kessel told NHL.com. “I try to play no matter what.”

Selected by the Boston Bruins with the No. 5 pick in the 2006 NHL Draft, Kessel has 959 points (400 goals, 559 assists) in 1,212 regular-season games for the Bruins, Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Coyotes and Golden Knights. He has 81 points (34 goals, 47 assists) in 96 Stanley Cup Playoff games and won the Cup with Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017.

Video: Yandle congratulates Kessel on becoming NHL ironman

Yandle’s streak ended at 989 when the defenseman was a healthy scratch for the Philadelphia Flyers in a 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 2, 2022. His streak started on March 26, 2009, when he played for the then-Phoenix coyotes

The third longest streak belongs to Doug Jarvis, who played 964 straight games from Oct. 8, 1975, to Oct. 10, 1987. Gary Unger (914) and Patrick Marleau (910) are the only other two players to have played at least 900 in a row.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brent Burns has the second longest active streak at 685, dating to Nov. 21, 2013. It is also the only active streak of more than 500 games.

NHL.com staff writer Mike Zeisberger and independent correspondents Chelena Goldman and Paul Delos Santos contributed to this report

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