And now Phil Kessel is alone.
Kessel became the NHL’s new “Iron Man” on Tuesday – and did so in style, scoring his 400th career goal in the Vegas Golden Knights’ 4-2 win over the Sharks in San Jose. The 35-year-old winger has now played 990 straight games, a streak that began on November 3, 2009.
“I was very happy about that,” Kessel said of the memorable evening, which was crowned by his new teammates chanting his name in a celebratory dressing room. “It was a special night. I’m happy about the win.”
It wasn’t long before Kessel broke the record previously set by Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle last season. Kessel started the game alongside William Carrier and Nicolas Roy. His record-breaking shift lasted 26 seconds before a game stoppage caused him to return to the bench. During the broadcast, Kessel was seen looking at the SAP center’s video board with a smile on his face.
The Sharks confirmed Kessel’s record during the first television break. The crowd applauded Kessel as the Knights winger gave them a grateful wave.
“It was nice. I appreciate it. They don’t have to do that. But I appreciate it from them,” said Kessel, who played the last three seasons with the Arizona Coyotes.
Later in the first half, Kessel opened the scoring of the game with his first goal of the season and his first with the Golden Knights. It was also his 400th career goal, making him the 12th American-born player to reach that milestone.
“It was just pure luck on everyone’s part,” said Vegas teammate William Karlsson. “Everyone just cheered and cried. It was really good to see it go in.”
Kessel almost reached that mark on Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs – the game in which he tied with Yandle – before an offside challenge nullified his goal. This time there was no question.
The Golden Knights made sure it was a memorial night with goals from Shea Theodore, Karlsson and Mark Stone in the third period to claim the win. Adin Hill made 29 saves in his first game against San Jose since he was traded to Vegas by the Sharks this summer.
“I think all the guys wanted to rally behind him,” Hill told Gut Check. I thought we answered in the third period and the results showed.”
Yandle became the record holder on January 25, 2022 after appearing in 965 consecutive games, a streak that began on March 26, 2009.
Yandle, who retired before the start of the 2022-23 season, extended his streak to 989 games before ending on March 29, 2022. Before Yandle was former Montreal Canadiens forward Doug Jarvis, a record holder who appeared in 964 games in a streak that ended on October 10, 1987.
Kessel was 8 days old when Jarvis’ streak ended.
Jarvis held the title as the NHL’s Iron Man for nearly 35 years before Yandle clinched the record. But there was always a belief that Yandle’s reign might be short-lived. Kessel had already played 941 straight games when Yandle broke Jarvis’ record. In comparison, Yandle held the title for nine months before being overtaken by Kessel.
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.
https://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/34878159/vegas-forward-phil-kessel-sets-nhl-record-consecutive-games Vegas forward Phil Kessel sets NHL record for consecutive games