It has been a storied 847 game career for Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, but Tuesday night the big centerman from Magnitogorsk, RUS added reached a milestone. He became just the fifth Russian-born player and the fifth active player to get 1000 points in a 5-3 victory over the Washington Capitals at PPG Paints Arena.
Its only fitting that the milestone came in the same game fellow countryman Alex Ovechkin who scored his 1200th career point late in the third period. Malkin collected his 1000th point at the 8:05 mark of the third period by assisting on Phil Kessel’s power-play goal, which ended up being the game winner.
The rivalry between Malkin and Ovechkin continues to be closely followed by fans and media alike since the players were drafted 1st and 2nd overall in 2004. The duo made history as Malkin and Ovechkin became just the fourth pair of players drafted 1-2 in the same year to hit 1,000, joining: Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau (1997); Pierre Turgeon & Brendan Shanahan (1987); and Guy Lafleur & Marcel Dionne (1971).
“1000 points. It’s a crazy number. I grew up in a small city. I never believed I’d play in the NHL and score 1000 points,” Malkin said. “It’s probably a special day for my hometown, too. 1000 points, win the Stanley Cup. I’m so glad, you know?”
Malkin has not seemed like himself this season, but can now relax after he has crossed off a huge milestone in his career. The 32-year-old forward admitted it did weigh on his mind as he neared closer to 1000.
“I feel like, finally, last couple weeks I have been a bit nervous,” said Malkin. ” It’s been going a bit slow but finally im over 1000 and I can breathe normally. Its a special day in my life.”
Malkin assist came on a Phil Kessel goal, who has only scored two goals in the last 18 games. The duo talked about hooking up for Malkin’s 1000th career point.
“He [Kessel} said to me I hope I can score when you get 1000 points,” laughed Malkin. “He is unbelievable, he is special, we play a long time together. It not easy for him to not score, but we try to play better every game and I’m glad he scored to help me get 1000 points. It was a huge goal for him and huge points for me.”
The PPG Paints Arena crowd loudly cheered the Malkin’s milestone and once again proved how much they support the player they affectionately called “Geno.” The loudest cheers probably came from Malkin’s parents and wife, who were in attendance.
“It crazy with a win tonight and a huge two points, I make 1000 points.” said Malkin after the game. ” Its amazing night for me and huge I did it in front of my parents and my wife.”
Even Malkin’s infant son, Nikita, was in attendance, but probably didn’t get to see his father accomplish the milestone.
“He can’t watch whole game, Malkin jokingly said. ” He watch half-game and go home, he is too small.”
Malkin began his career selected second overall in the 2004 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, though an international transfer dispute delayed the start of his NHL career until 2006. After his first season with the Penguins Malkin received the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s best rookie. In his second season, he helped lead Pittsburgh to the 2008 Stanley Cup Final and was a runner-up for the Hart Trophy. Malkin won Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 2009, 2016, 2017, including a Conn Smythe trophy during the 2009 cup run. Malkin led the NHL in scoring during the 2009 season as well.
The Penguins joined the Detroit Red Wings as the only franchises to have four players record 1,000 points entirely with their franchise. Malkin joined an elite club of Penguins forwards: Mario Lemieux (1,723); Sidney Crosby, (1,204); & Jaromir Jagr, (1,079).