‘Life is Good,’ Malkin 17th-Fastest to 1,200 Points; See Milestone
The Pittsburgh Penguins have three players who reached 1,200 points, and all three did it wearing only a Penguins sweater throughout their careers. Friday against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center, Evgeni Malkin notched two assists to reach 1,200 points in just his 1,032nd NHL game.
Malkin became the 17th-fastest player in NHL history to reach the plateau. Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby are the other Penguins to accomplish the feat.
The Penguins had little trouble with Anaheim. The 6-3 score was misleading, as the Penguins eased up after taking a commanding and dominating 6-1 lead.
Midway through the third period, Malkin fed Bryan Rust sweeping across the net. Rust deked Anaheim goalie John Gibson, a Whitehall native, to the backhand for the Penguins’ fifth goal.
Rust immediately called for the puck, underscoring the team’s awareness of the milestone.
“I don’t want to say it’s just numbers, but it’s huge,” Malkin said. “I mean, I play every year, (but this year) I’m playing my best. It’s a big number. And I’m trying to keep going.”
Malkin, 36, became the 51st player in league history to reach 1,200 points. He had three shots on goal and two assists.
Evgeni Malkin beat friend and Russian national teammate Alex Ovechkin, who accomplished the feat in 1,073 games with the Washington Capitals. Malkin also tied Dino Ciccarelli for 50th on the NHL all-time scoring list.
In the second period, Malkin notched point No. 1,199 when he converted a turnover to set up defenseman P.O Joseph’s second goal of the game.
“I had a couple of injuries, big injuries (in my career), but again, 1,200 is a good number,” said Malkin. “I mean, life is good. I don’t want to think about, ‘Oh, how many points I could (have) with no injuries?’ I still have three more years. Maybe when I’m retired, I’ll have 1,500 points. That’s a good number, too. Like, I’m OK (with that).”
The Penguins visit the LA Kings Saturday at Crypto.com Arena.