On This Day in Sports: Mario Lemieux scores his 600th goal

BY foxsports • February 4, 2016

In his 719th career game, Mario Lemieux gathered the puck along the left boards at mid ice off of a pass from Ron Francis with just under a minute remaining in the game against the Vancouver Canucks. Up 5-4 in the game after goals from Stu Barnes, Joel Dziedzic, Jaromir Jagr, Joe Mullen and Francis, the Pittsburgh Penguins forced the Canucks to pull goaltender Kirk McLean to get an extra skater on the ice. But as Lemieux scampered down the boards, there was nothing the Canucks could do as he flicked the puck into the empty net.

It was the 600th time Lemieux had scored a goal.

The crowd erupted in cheers following the feat, chanting "Mario" over and over for the their beloved captain.

The milestone was tremendously special. Lemieux became the seventh player in NHL history at the time to score 600 goals.

"It's a pretty special list. You look at the names: (Phil) Esposito, Marcel Dionne, (Wayne) Gretzky. To be included on that list is something I'll be able to cherish all my life," Lemieux said at the time.

But it was special for more than just a respectable milestone. Just four years prior, Lemieux was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, and radiation treatment caused him to miss the entire 1994-95 season. Lemieux was unsure if he'd be able to return to play again. But, by the 1996-97 season, Lemieux would claim his sixth career scoring title with 50 goals, 72 assists and 122 points. 

Lemieux temporarily retired after that season, but after taking ownership of the Penguins in 1999, Lemieux returned for the start of the 2000-01 season. He scored 35 goals and recorded 41 assists in 43 games, finishing second in the Hart Trophy vote as the NHL's most valuable player. A back injury would hamper Lemieux's latter years in the NHL, and he officially called it a career in 2006. He finished with 690 goals and 1033 assists in 915 games.

Today, Lemieux's 690 goals ranks as the 10th most all-time. And the list of NHLers who have scored 600 goals has grown to 19. But of those 19 players, no player has played in less games than Lemieux.

Mario Lemieux came into the NHL as a rookie for the 1984-85 season after he was drafted 1st overall in 1984.

Over the course of his career, Lemieux would win a Calder Trophy, four Ted Lindsay awards, six Art Ross Trophies, two Conn Smythe Trophies and three Hart Memorial Trophies.

Lemieux would win two Stanley Cups in his career. He'd add a third to his resume as an owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009.

When Jaromir Jagr joined the team for the 1990-91 season, he and Lemieux formed the deadliest duo in hockey. They won two Stanley Cups in Jagr's first two seasons.

Less than a month before he scored his 600th goal, Lemieux teamed up with the Wayne Gretzky, Dino Ciccarelli and Mark Messier at the 1997 NHL All-Star Game in San Jose, California.

Upon his third return to the NHL, Lemieux suited up with Sidney Crosby.

On January 24, 2006, Lemieux officially retired from hockey. Today, he works as the co-owner of the Penguins.

You can follow Tommy Chalk on Twitter @Tommy_Chalk