‘Elite’ Malkin Joins Prestigious 1,000-Point Company

Penguins center assists two goals as Pittsburgh tops rival Washington

Josh Rowntree
March 12, 2019 - 11:55 pm
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates with center Evgeni Malkin (71) after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals during the second period at PPG PAINTS Arena.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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Working on the power play, Evgeni Malkin dished a pass to Justin Schultz, who let a shot go. Braden Holtby made the save and Phil Kessel was right there to put the power play rebound goal home. 

The camera immediately cut to two familiar faces, Vladimir and Natalia Malkin, Evgeni Malkin’s parents, as they celebrated their son’s 1000th career NHL point.

Malkin’s assist made him the 88th player in NHL history, and fifth Russian-born player, to hit the 1000th point milestone. It also helped Pittsburgh to a crucial 5-3 win over rival Washington Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena. 

“I’ve played 15 years,” Malkin said. “That’s a long time. I’ve played for an absolutely great team, great organization. The coach gives me power play time every game, 20 minutes every game. I just try to do my best.”

And Malkin has done just that, winning a trio of Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe trophy, a Hart trophy, two Art Ross trophies, as well as various other honors through his career. 

“I think Geno reaching this milestone is just an indication of his elite talent level, his mental toughness, his stick-to-itiveness to fight through the challenges that this League presents,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “It’s hard to produce as consistently as he has in his time here in Pittsburgh. 

“We all understand what he means to this team. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves outside in the hockey world. He has been one of the elite players in this League for a decade-plus. He deserves more attention for that. His body of work speaks for itself.”

Malkin joins Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, as well as Sergei Federov, Alexander Mogilny and Alexei Kovalev as Russians to reach 1,000 points. 

“I’m happy for him,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “It was only a matter of time, when he’s this close. But it’s a great milestone. He’s done so much over the years. He’s been a part of winning teams, highlight reel goals, dominated games and has done a lot for the organization. 

“It’s been fun to be a part of that and watch that. You’re always happy for your teammates when they do well, but a guy that I’ve played this long with, I think it’s pretty special, pretty unique and doesn’t happen often.”

Crosby has combined with Malkin for 303 of the 1,000 points, an incredible mark for two players that have played minimal time on the same line. 

Beyond Crosby, other former teammates, such as Max Talbot, Chris Kunitz, and Marc-Andre Fleury recorded video messages for Malkin.

 

“We were all thrilled,” Sullivan said. “His teammates are all excited for him, the coaches, as well. He’s been anxious to reach the milestone, so when he was finally able to get it, everyone was excited and thrilled for him. You could see the raw emotion with the players on the ice, but also on the bench. It’s pretty cool to be part of that.”

It is not as if Malkin has been slumping of late, with eight points in his last nine games, but Tuesday was his first multi-point night (with two assists) since February 17. 

“The last couple of weeks I’ve been a little bit nervous and it’s been going a little bit slow,” he said. “But, finally, I’m over 1,000 and I can breathe  normally. 

“Thank you to my teammates, it’s of course a special day for my family, my friends. I play hockey all my life, and it’s amazing to be here and win here, against Washington. A special day, for sure.”

Special indeed. Not only for Malkin’s legacy, in which he will go down as one of the NHL’s greatest players, but also, more in the moment, for this team. The Penguins, with the win, moved back into third place in the Metropolitan Division. And now, with Malkin perhaps a bit more relaxed and this barrier out of the way, he could be primed to expand upon his already impressive resumé. 

“It’s two huge points, and I made 1,000 points,” Malkin said. “It’s absolutely amazing, tonight, for me. It’s one of the best nights of my life. I had my parents here, my wife. It’s crazy. 

“Growing up in a small city, I never believed I’d play in the NHL and score 1,000 points. It’s probably a special day for my hometown, too. First guy to make 1,000 points, win a Stanley Cup. I’m so glad.”

Hear all of what Evgeni Malkin had to say below.