Lemieux Gets 1,000th Assist

Archived from 2002-03 season.

NHL teams

Mario Lemieux had four assists to become the 10th player in NHL history with 1,000 in his career as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Boston Bruins 5-2 on Saturday.

"It's nice to do it in a big game like this, with four assists," Lemieux said.

Just like his first NHL game, Lemieux posted a milestone against the Bruins. In his very first shift, Lemieux scored a goal on his first career shot at the old Boston Garden on Oct. 11, 1984.

"First goal. First assist," Lemieux said of that game. "It's a nice place."

Lemieux needed only 856 career games for the milestone, but more importantly the Pens snapped a four-game losing streak.

"It was certainly disappointing the last couple of games," Lemieux said. "We wanted to play hard for 60 minutes. That was important for us."

Lemieux, who is Penguins owner as well as player, expects the team to lose money this year, leading to tough financial decisions this summer.

"I'm going to have to make decisions this summer," he said. "We've just got to make the numbers work. We can't allow this team to go back into bankruptcy."

Lemieux bought the Penguins out of bankruptcy in 1999, ensuring the team would remain in Pittsburgh.

"My role is to keep this team here forever, but, you know, I can't do this alone. I need the support of the corporate community and the fans, and, if it's not there, I've got to protect my interest," Lemieux said.

The Penguins already are looking at the almost-certain trade of Alexei Kovalev, the NHL's sixth-leading scorer, for economic reasons, just as they traded Jaromir Jagr two years ago.

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