Messier has 14 assists in 15 appearances

Mark Messier set an NHL All-Star game record Sunday with his 14th assist by setting up Adrian Aucoin's first-period goal for the Eastern Conference.

Updated: February 8, 2004, 11:34 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Mark Messier made a run at the record book in his 15th NHL All-Star Game.

Messier had a goal, an assist and a big smile Sunday in the Eastern Conference's 6-4 victory Sunday over the Western Conference.

The 43-year-old has scored six All-Star goals in different games. He is the third-oldest All-Star, trailing only Gordie Howe (50) and Doug Harvey (44).

He set an NHL All-Star Game record with his 14th assist by setting up Adrian Aucoin's first-period goal for the Eastern Conference.

"The thing that's encouraging every year is you come to camp and try to compete and play at a top level," Messier said. "Over the last three, four years, I didn't know what the coming season would bring, or whether I'd be able to compete or play or whatever."

Messier broke a tie with Ray Bourque, who had 13 assists in 19 All-Star games. The New York Rangers captain added a goal in the second period to move into third place on the career points list with 20, breaking a tie with Howe.

Earlier this season, Messier passed Howe on the career regular-season points list and moved into second place behind only Wayne Gretzky. With 1,870 points, he is 20 ahead of Howe and 987 behind the "Great One."

"He was playing good enough to deserve it, to play here," said Jaromir Jagr, his All-Star linemate and new Rangers teammate. "There's no question that he deserved to be here."

When Messier scored the third East goal to lift his team into a 3-3 tie, he lifted the puck up and shook it toward his family in the stands. A grin stretched across his face.

"I was just holding it up because I knew one of the kids was excited that I scored a goal and one of them was going to get it," he said. "Obviously, you want to score the goal anytime you're playing a game like this, but it's more for the kids."

Messier was matched on a line with Jagr and Washington's Robert Lang. Jagr also earned an assist on Aucoin's goal, and Lang got one when Messier scored.

"Both him and Robert all game long were trying to set me up to score a goal," Messier said of Jagr, "and I was the lucky receiver."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press