Joe Thornton records 1,000th assist in 900th game with Sharks

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton became the 13th player in NHL history to record 1,000 assists when he had a helper on Joe Pavelski's empty-net goal to seal a 3-2 victory Monday night over the Winnipeg Jets.

"I've been lucky enough to stay healthy all these years and play with a lot of good scorers. For a passer, that's probably the key, to have [players like] Jonathan Cheechoo, Glen Murray, Joe Pavelski, [Patrick] Marleau," Thornton said.

"The list goes on and on, the guys who I have been able to play with over the years who can put the puck in the back of the net. I've been lucky to be set up with those guys."

Thornton, 37, also was playing in his 900th career game with the Sharks, who acquired the big center from the Boston Bruins in November 2005 for three players. He had been the first overall pick for Boston in the 1997 NHL draft.

Three times, he has led the league in assists, including the year he was dealt to the Sharks, when he also finished as the league's top scorer (29-96-125) and won the Hart Trophy as league MVP.

Since the 1997-98 season when Thornton entered the NHL, he leads all players in both assists (1,000) and points (1,382).

He joins others to tally 1,000 assists such as Wayne Gretzky, who's No. 1 with 1,963; Gordie Howe; Jaromir Jagr, the only other player who is still active; and former Bruins teammate Ray Bourque.

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Thornton notches 1,000th assist in Sharks' win
Thornton notches 1,000th assist in Sharks' win
Joe Thornton gets his 1,000th career assist on Joe Pavelski's empty-net goal as the Sharks beat the Jets 3-2. Thornton is the 13th NHL player to reach the milestone.
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