Jagr to play 1,500th NHL contest tonight

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If it feels like Jaromir Jagr’s hit a new statistical benchmark every other week this season, well, it’s probably because he has.

On Monday, the latest — Jagr will play in his 1,500th career NHL contest when the Devils take on the ‘Canes in Carolina tonight, becoming just the 15th player in league history to do so.

Quite the wordsmith.

Jagr will join some pretty elite company with 1,500 games under his belt: Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, John Bucyk, Alex Delvecchio, Nicklas Lidstrom, Ray Bourque, Larry Murphy, Scott Stevens, Dave Andreychuk, Chris Chelios, Mark Recchi, Ron Francis, Mark Messier and Gordie Howe, the all-time games played leader with 1,767.

The crazy part, of course, is that Jagr could’ve already surpassed Howe.

Three lockouts and a three-year stint in the KHL kept No. 68 at “only” 1,500 games played heading into tonight; it’s conceivable that had the work stoppages and European jaunt not occurred, Jagr — who, at 41, played every regular-season game for the Devils last year — could have been honing in on game No. 1,800 this season.