PITTSBURGH — Evgeni Malkin was honored by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday for playing 1,000 NHL games.
The ceremony for the 36-year-old center took place before Pittsburgh’s game against the Calgary Flames at PPG Paints Arena. Malkin reached the milestone on Sunday, extending his point streak to seven games with a goal in a 5-3 win against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center.
Malkin was joined in a corner of the ice by his wife, Anna, and son, Nikita, to watch a video tribute documenting some of his NHL highlights, including being selected No. 2 in the NHL Draft in 2004 and scored his first NHL goal against Martin Brodeur in his debut against the New Jersey Devils on October 18, 2006.
Malkin’s parents, Vladimir and Natalia, spoke during the video, as did his brother, Denis. Long time teammates Sidney Crosby and Kris LetangMinnesota Wild goaltender and former teammate Marc-Andre Fleury and Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin appeared in the video as well.
“You’ve been a great friend, a great teammate over the years,” Crosby said. “I wish you more goals, more points, more games and, of course, more Cups.”
Crosby and Letang presented Malkin with a silver commemorative hockey stick. The three-time Stanley Cup champion (2009, 2016, 2017) was also given a mosaic made of 1,000 images, one from each of his NHL games.
Each of Malkin’s teammates wore their jerseys during pregame warmups.
Malkin is third in Penguins history with 1,166 points, 452 goals and 714 assists. Mario Lemieux (1,723, 690, 1,033) and Crosby (1,436, 527, 900) are first and second, respectively.
Crosby (1,128) and Malkin are the only players in Penguins history to reach 1,000 games. Letang (960) could reach 1,000 later this season. Lemieux was the previous Pittsburgh hitting record holder with 915 games.
Malkin’s 1,166 points are the 15th most by a player in his first 1,000 games, topped by Wayne Gretzky’s 2,265. He is the 373rd NHL player and 32nd active player to play 1,000 games.
The celebration didn’t start on Wednesday. Before the Chicago game,Malkin’s teammates reenacted part of his routine before the game. The Penguins did the same for Crosby before his 1,000th game on February 20, 2021.
“It’s amazing. It feels like yesterday I played my first game and tonight is the 1,000th game,” Malkin said after Sunday’s game. “It’s crazy how fast time flies. But it’s a lot of good memories.”