PITTSBURGH — Evgeni Malkin was honored by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday for playing 1,000 NHL games.
A ceremony for the 36-year-old center was held before Pittsburgh’s game against the Calgary Flames at PPG Paints Arena. Malkin reached the milestone Sunday, extending his point streak to seven games with a goal in a 5-3 win against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.
Malkin was joined at one corner of the ice by his wife, Anna, and son, Nikita, to watch a tribute video documenting some of his NHL highlights, including being selected No. 2 overall in the 2004 NHL Draft and scoring his first NHL goal against Martin Brodeur in his debut against the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 18, 2006.
Malkin’s parents, Vladimir and Natalia, spoke during the video, as did his brother, Denis. Long-time teammates Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang, Minnesota Wild goalie and former teammate Marc-Andre Fleury and Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin also appeared in the video.
“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 gifted a mosaic made of 1,000 pictures, one from each of his NHL games.
Each of Malkin’s teammates wore his jersey 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 get to 1,000 later this season. Lemieux was the previous Pittsburgh record holder at 915 games.
Malkin’s 1,166 points are the 15th most by a player through his first 1,000 games, led by Wayne Gretzky’s 2,265. He is the 373rd NHL player, and 32nd active, to play 1,000.
The celebration didn’t start Wednesday. Before the game against Chicago,Malkin’s teammates replicated part of his customary pregame stretch. The Penguins did the same for Crosby before his 1,000th game on Feb. 20, 2021.
“It’s amazing. I feel like it was like yesterday I played my first game and tonight is the 1,000th game,” Malkin said after the game Sunday. “It’s just crazy how fast time is running. But it’s lots of good memories.”