Patrick Marleau is closing in on Gordie Howe’s all-time NHL record for games played.
Saturday night’s 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings marked Marleau’s 1,763rd career game, putting him just four shy of matching Howe’s record of 1,767. After the game ended, Kings captain Anze Kopitar, alternate captain Jeff Carter and goalie Jonathan Quick stopped Marleau for a quick chat.
Classy move by the Kings, who have plenty of history with Marleau. Marleau has played in four playoff series against the Kings (2011, '13, '14 and '16), with Kopitar and Quick playing in all four and Carter playing in the last three.
The 41-year-old Marleau is expected to break the record on April 19 on the road against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Respect and sportsmanship still play a major role in hockey and moments like these are always special.
The Sharks played their division rival eight times during the regular season. Both teams are fading further out of the race for the No. 4 seed, so this was likely the last time they played each other this season as well.
Even if Marleau decides to return for a 24th season this fall, he could choose to skate with a Stanley Cup contender rather than stay with San Jose's rebuilding roster. For all we know, this could have been Marleau's final act against the Kings in a Sharks uniform. Fitting for a rivalry that has been so intense over the years.