American Made: Penguins’ Kessel Joins Elite Group

It is special whenever a player reaches a milestone. Even more so when that milestone helps win a game.

On Oct. 26, Phil Kessel scored 1:07 into overtime to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. It was the 300th goal of Kessel’s career.

Two days earlier, Kessel also netted the game-winning goal in overtime for the Penguins in a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the second player in franchise history to score an overtime goal in consecutive team games. Aleksey Morozov was the first to do it in 2004: March 19 (4-3 over Carolina) and March 21 (4-3 over the New York Rangers).

By scoring his 300th career goal, Kessel joined some select company. He became the 19th American-born player to reach the milestone.

Here’s a look at the other players on that list with their career goal total in parenthesis and how and when they scored their 300th goal:

Brett Hull (741) & Mike Modano (561)

Playing for the St. Louis Blues, “The Golden Brett” got his 300th career goal April 12, 1992, against the Minnesota North Stars. He scored a shorthanded goal against goalie Jon Casey at 18:37 of the first period to tie the game, 1-1. That wound up being the final score. It was Hull’s 68th goal in what wound up being a 70-goal campaign.

Brett Hull scored the most goals by an American-born player with 741. (David E. Klutho/Sports Illustrated)

Seven years later, with the Dallas Stars, Hull would help Modano get his 300th goal.

At Nashville on Feb. 23, 1999, Modano netted a hat trick in a 4-3 win. He scored his first goal of the game at 9:50 of the first period to give the Stars a 1-0 lead. The Predators had the next three goals to lead after two periods, but in the third, after Pat Verbeek made it 3-2 at 7:50, Modano tied the game at the 9:01 mark. He then completed his hat trick — and notched his 300th goal — at 15:37 off an assist from Jere Lehtinen and Hull.

Keith Tkachuk (538) & Jeremy Roenick (513)

Tkachuk capped a 4-2 win for the Phoenix Coyotes over the Dallas Stars on Oct. 27, 2000, with an empty-net goal at 19:50 of the third period for No. 300. Getting an assist on the play was Roenick, who three years and one day earlier, had reached the milestone.

On Oct. 26, 1997, in the Coyotes’ 6-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres, Roenick scored a power-play goal at 10:13 of the second period against goalie Dominik Hasek for his 300th goal.

Joe Mullen (502)

It was the Calgary Flames’ second game of the 1988-89 season, at Los Angeles on Oct. 8. Mullen opened the scoring just 1:06 into the game for his 299th goal. Then, in the third period, with the Kings leading, 5-3, Mullen scored his 300th goal at 14:09 to make it 5-4. Jiri Hrdina tied the game 35 seconds later, but the Kings won in overtime, 6-5, on a goal by Dave Taylor at 4:37.

Pat LaFontaine (468)

After eight seasons and 287 goals with the New York Islanders, LaFontaine was traded to Buffalo on Oct. 25, 1991. With the Sabres, he scored his 300th goal on Jan. 8, 1992, against the Quebec Nordiques. He beat goalie Stephane Fiset at 12:5o of the second period to tie the score, 2-2. The Sabres went on to win, 4-2.

Although he played eight seasons with the New York Islanders, Pat LaFontaine got his 300th career goal as a member of the Buffalo Sabres.

Bill Guerin (429)

In the Dallas Stars’ 3-0 victory at San Jose on Jan. 13, 2004, Guerin scored twice against Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov. His first goal at 7:31 of the second period was No. 300. His second goal at 10:43 of the third was No. 301.

Tony Amonte (416) and John LeClair (406)

During the 1999-2000 season, Amonte and LeClair both reached the 300-goal milestone.

Amonte got his Nov. 19, 1999, in the Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-2 loss at Anaheim. He opened the scoring at 2:34 of the first period against goalie Guy Hebert.

LeClair’s 300th goal came with the Philadelphia Flyers in a 3-1 victory over the Blackhawks on Feb. 22, 2000. He opened the scoring at 12:21 of the first period against goalie Jocelyn Thibault. The lone goal for the Blackhawks: Amonte.

John Leclair of the Philadelphia Flyers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Peter McNab (363)

McNab became the first American to reach the 300-goal mark Oct. 9, 1983, in the Boston Bruins’ 4-1 win over the Hartford Whalers. He beat goalie Mike Veisor at 10:20 of the first period to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead.

Ed Olczyk, Scott Young & Brian Ralston (342)

All three players finished their careers with the same goal total

Olczyk got his 300th goal Nov. 14, 1996, against the Toronto Maple Leafs while playing for the Los Angeles Kings. He beat goalie Don Beaupre to open the scoring at 4:42 of the first period.

Young scored his 300th as a member of the Dallas Stars on Nov. 30, 2002, at Nashville. It was a power-play goal at 12:24 of the second period against Predators goalie Mike Dunham. The Stars lost, however, 5-2.

Ralston netted his 300th on March 14, 2009, in the New Jersey Devils’ 3-1 win at Montreal. It came at 11:08 of the first period on the power play against Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak.

Dave Christian (340)

Christian reached the milestone in a wild game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 23, 1990.

He scored No. 300 against goalie John Vanbiesbrouck at 19:21 of the second period. Then, his second goal of the game capped a three-goal outburst in the opening 2:13 of the third period to give the Bruins a 5-2. However, the Rangers scored three times in a 6:10 span later in the third and the game wound up a 5-5 tie.

Phil Housley (338)

Housley scored the lone goal for the Calgary Flames in a 3-1 loss at Chicago on March 17, 1999. He beat goalie Jocelyn Thibault at 1:12 of the third period to tie the game, 1-1, but Tony Amonte scored twice in the final three minutes to give the Blackhawks the win.

Kevin Stevens (329)

On Dec. 26, 1998, playing for the New York Rangers, Stevens scored his 300th goal in a 6-3 win at Carolina. It came against Hurricanes goalie Arturs Irbe at 6:39 of the second and was the second goal in a six-goal outburst by the Rangers in the period.

Bobby Carpenter (320)

Carpenter made his fifth and final goal of the 1994-95 season count. It was his 300th goal and it came March 29, 1995, for the New Jersey Devils in a 4-2 win at Ottawa. He scored it against Senators goalie Don Beaupre at 10:18 of the first period.

Zach Parise (318 and counting)

Parise’s first goal of last season put him in the American 300-goal club. It came Oct. 23, 2016, against the New York Islanders when he beat goalie Thomas Greiss at 1:15 of the second period to open the scoring. He added another goal at 12:37 of the second, but the Islanders won, 6-3.

Who’s next?

With 298 career goals, Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks is on the verge of joining the group. Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks is 10 goals shy of 300, while Jason Pominville of the Buffalo Sabres has 267 career goals.