Anders Lee played in his 500th NHL game Thursday night, a 6-3 loss to the Capitals in Washington.
That milestone gave the Islanders’ captain a brief pause to appreciate his career.
"I can’t believe it’s been 500 games already," said Lee, whose goal at 17:39 of the first period gave the Islanders a 3-0 lead.
But teammate Josh Bailey was playing in his 872nd game, tying Hall of Famer Clark Gillies for fourth place on the Islanders’ all-time list, and that truly awed Lee.
Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier is the team’s all-time leader with 1,123 games. Barring injury, Bailey also will pass Bobby Nystrom (900 games) for third place on the Islanders’ all-time list this season.
"Night in and night out, he’s such a professional the way he handles himself, the way he plays the game," Lee said. "To play that much hockey and as consistently as he has for a long time, it’s awesome to see. He deserves to climb up our franchise’s history books."
Coach Barry Trotz said he considered pulling goalie Semyon Varlamov in favor of Cory Schneider after the Capitals’ five-goal second period. Schneider dressed as the backup, with Ilya Sorokin reassigned to the taxi squad to create a roster spot for Oliver Wahlstrom.
"I just had to trust that we had a bad patch there," Trotz said. "If they would’ve gotten to make it 6-3 early [in the third period], I would’ve gone to Cory just to get Varly out of there. Not his fault."
Center Casey Cizikas was OK after being shaken up at 18:12 of the third period . . . Defenseman Ryan Pulock appeared to hurt his right leg as he tripped Tom Wilson at 16:48 of the third period . . . Defenseman Sebastian Aho and forwards Michael Dal Colle and Ross Johnston were healthy scratches.
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