Considering the only 88 players have reached the 1,000-point milestone in the 102-year history of the NHL, it’s pretty remarkable that PPG Paints Arena has hosted two such celebrations in the span of a little more than two years.
Evgeni Malkin hit 1,000 with a third-period assist on a Phil Kessel goal in a 5-3 Pittsburgh Penguins win over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.
Sidney Crosby moved into quadruple digits with an assist on a Chris Kunitz overtime goal in a 4-3 Penguins win over the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 16, 2017.
“I just feel honored to play with some of these guys,” goalie Matt Murray said. “These guys are legends. Sid, Geno, Phil, we’re very lucky to get to play with those guys. I got to see Sid get his 1,000th, and I got to see G get his 1,000th, too. It’s fun to be a part of.”
In a stark reminder of how quickly rosters turn over in the NHL in general and with the Penguins in particular, it’s interesting to note only six players other than Crosby and Malkin appeared in both 1,000-point games. They are Kessel, Matt Cullen, Patric Hornqvist, Jake Guentzel, Brian Dumoulin and Justin Schultz.
Murray dressed for both games, but he was backing up Marc-Andre Fleury during Crosby’s milestone moment.
Here are five other fun facts about Malkin’s 1,000-point accomplishment.
1. Thanks, Geno
In the moments after Malkin hit 1,000 points, the Penguins released a list of 110 players who have figured in the scoring on a goal scored or assisted by Malkin. Crosby topped the list with 303. Kessel was next with 151.
Only one player on the list can thank a Malkin goal for the only point of his NHL career.
In December 2011, with the Penguins racked by injuries on the blue line, Carl Sneep, a second-round draft pick out of Boston College, was called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Late in the first period of his NHL debut, an 8-3 Penguins win over Buffalo, Sneep took a pass from defense partner Alexandre Picard below the goal line and banked a clearing pass off the right-wing boards. Malkin picked up the puck in the neutral zone, flew up the right wing and beat goalie Jhonas Enroth for his second of three goals in the game.
Sneep returned to the AHL shortly thereafter. He retired in 2014 and became a technical consultant for a computer services company in his native Minnesota. Thanks to Malkin, his NHL points-per-game average will always be 1.0.
2. Not Nick
An odd omission from the list: During two regular seasons with the Penguins from 2015-17, Nick Bonino scored 27 goals and assisted on 39 others. Neither Malkin nor Crosby figured in on the scoring of any of those 66 goals.
3. Closer race
Thanks to the one-year, 102-point head start Crosby got as a rookie before Malkin came to the NHL, there never really has been a career scoring race between the Penguins superstars. Crosby is 206 points ahead.
When it comes to professional points, including games played outside of the NHL, the gap is 66 points. Malkin recorded a total of 140 points in parts of four seasons with his hometown team in Magnitogorsk in Russia’s top pro league early in his career and during the 2012-13 lockout.
4. Tormenting Philly
There are dozens of reasons Crosby and Malkin are beloved by Penguins fans, and one of them is the way they have tortured the Philadelphia Flyers over the years.
Crosby and Malkin both count 16 goals at Wells Fargo Center among their first 1,000 career points. Outside of PPG Paints Arena and Mellon Arena, it’s the building where both have done the most scoring.
5. What’s next?
Four other major milestones could be coming up for the Penguins superstar duo of Crosby and Malkin in the next few years.
Both are within shouting distance of their 1,000th career games. Crosby has played 931 and Malkin 848. They also are closing in on their 500th NHL goals. Crosby has 444 and Malkin 391.