One club, a thousand games.

When their teammates stepped onto the ice for warm-ups, they all wore Victor Hedman's number 77 on their arm and the number 1,000 on their backs.

"You're a great player, a great leader and an even better friend," former teammate Ondrej Palat said in a message to Hedman that was played during a pre-match ceremony.

A total of 677 points, including 148 goals and 529 assists, have been recorded since Hedman went as the second pick in the draft when Tampa Bay selected him in 2009.

Seventh Swedish defenseman

He has remained there, not surprising considering his success. So far, Hedman has won the Stanley Cup twice and the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman once. In 2020, he was named the playoffs' Most Valuable Player.

Hedman is the seventh Swedish defenseman to reach 1,000 games in the NHL after Nicklas Lidstrom (1,564), Börje Salming (1,148), Calle Johansson (1,109), Ulf Samuelsson (1,080), Alexander Edler (1,030) and Fredrik Olausson (1,022).

"It's super special. Something a guy from a small town in Sweden never thought was possible," said Hedman, who came to Tampa Bay from Modo.

Proud Dad

Ahead of the milestone, father Olle Hedman wrote a loving letter to his son that was published on the club's website.

"Now you've played more games in Tampa than any other defenseman. Just think about it," the father writes.

"You came to this city when you were 18 years old with a lot of weight from the world on your shoulders. You were labeled 'the best Swedish defenseman since Nicklas Lidström'. You took that pressure as a privilege. You embraced it and started fighting."

In the current season, Hedman has 25 points, including five goals and 20 assists, in 26 games played. During the night's game, he was held scoreless.