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Marleau passes Messier for second in games played, 10 behind Howe’s record


SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 29: Patrick Marleau #12 of the San Jose Sharks plays in his 1,757th game passing Mark Messier for second all-time in games played against the Minnesota Wild at SAP Center on March 29, 2021 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Patrick Marleau passed Mark Messier for second all-time in NHL games played at 1,757 on Monday. After passing Messier, Marleau is only 10 games behind Gordie Howe, who owns the all-time record with 1,767 NHL games played.

Marleau’s Sharks ended up beating the Wild 4-3 via a lengthy shootout on Monday.
Here’s the top 10 in NHL games played, including his former teammate, Joe Thornton.

  1. Howe: 1,767
  2. Marleau: 1,757
  3. Messier: 1,756
  4. Jaromir Jagr: 1,733
  5. Ron Francis: 1,731
  6. Joe Thornton: 1,659 (counting Monday)
  7. Mark Recchi: 1,658
  8. Chris Chelios: 1,651
  9. Dave Andreychuk: 1,639
  10. Scott Stevens: 1,635

Marleau passes Messier for second in games played at 1,757; 10 behind Howe

If healthy Marleau could pass Howe during the remainder of the 2020-21 season. The Sharks are slated to play 22 additional games. Naturally, with COVID-19, it’s not a guarantee that there won’t be any additional interruptions.

Most importantly, getting that far would require continued health.

That sheer volume of 1,757 games is already impressive stuff from Marleau. If you want more evidence of Patrick Marleau’s remarkable durability, consider his active “ironman” streak, too. After Monday’s Sharks - Wild game, Marleau’s now played 888 games in a row. That’s the fourth-longest ironman streak in NHL history.

After being held pointless on Monday, Marleau is at 564 goals and 630 assists for 1,194 points in 1,757 career regular-season games. It’s been a quiet season for him, though, as he has two goals and six points in 34 games played.

(With the Sharks not particularly close to a playoff berth, we’re unlikely to see any Keith Yandle-style healthy scratch rumblings.)

In case you’re wondering, Marleau’s also played in 195 playoff games. That would tie him for 24th all-time with Zdeno Chara, who stands a strong chance of breaking that tie.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.