Ovechkin passes 1,000 points as Caps top Pens
(TSX / STATS) -- WASHINGTON -- With family, friends and fans on hand to see if he would make history on Wednesday night, Alex Ovechkin didn't keep anyone waiting long.
Ovechkin scored a goal 35 seconds into the game for his 1,000th NHL point, then added another goal in the second period as the Washington Capitals defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 on Wednesday night at Verizon Center for their seventh consecutive win.
"I was thinking about it before the game, everybody's here, it would be nice to get the 1000th point at home," said Ovechkin, who scored his 999th point Monday night in Montreal and had his wife, parents and brother at Verizon Center on Wednesday night.
"It's a pretty special moment," he said, "a pretty amazing moment."
He is the 84th player in NHL history to reach the 1,000-point plateau, doing it in his 880th game, the 37th to record 1,000 points with one team.
Braden Holtby stopped 30 shots for Washington (27-9-5). Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and three assists -- including on both Ovechkin's tallies -- and T.J. Oshie also registered three assists.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves for the Penguins (26-9-5), who had won five straight. Phil Kessel had two assists.
"They got the good start, but we had a number of chances to get back into it," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "Their goalie made some saves and we weren't able to capitalize. We've got to find ways to score goals and not allow them to pad their lead."
Washington improved to 14-2-2 in its past 18 games.
"If you look at the time on ice, we're spreading it around pretty good so everyone feels a part of it and everyone's contributing which is vital to success," said Capitals forward Justin Williams, who scored his 12th goal of the season.
The Penguins outshot the Capitals 13-9 in the first period, but only Ovechkin found the back of the net.
Ovechkin came down the right side two-on-one with Backstrom. He kept the puck, crossed into the slot and fired past Fleury on the glove side. Backstrom and Oshie picked up the assists.
"Well it took him long enough," Williams joked. "I just shook my head. I'm not shocked about anything he does."
Ovechkin received a standing ovation from the Verizon Center crowd and, with prodding from Backstrom, stood to acknowledge the cheers.
"He was sitting down on the bench and I just pushed him up," Backstrom said. "He should be honored like that. If you reach 1,000 in the amount of games he has, it's pretty impressive."
It was career goal No. 545 for Ovechkin, who moved past Maurice "The Rocket" Richard for sole possession of 29th place on the NHL's all-time goals list.
Ovechkin struck again at 8:06 of the second period on a power play when he took a feed in the left circle from John Carlson (two assists) and fired over Fleury's far shoulder for his 21st goal of the season. Fleury then skated away from the net and slammed his stick against the boards.
Evgeny Kuznetsov set up the third goal when he started to skate behind Fleury, stopped and fed in front to Williams, who tapped it in to make it 3-0 at 4:31 of the third period.
Evgeni Malkin scored his 17th goal of the season on a power play at 7:46 of the third to pull Pittsburgh back within two.
With a little over seven minutes left to play, Pittsburgh's Matt Cullen hit the crossbar on a short-handed breakaway attempt. Moments later, Ovechkin scored a power-play goal off a pretty pass from Oshie to make it 4-1.
"It was probably the difference in the game," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "Cully makes a great shot, hits the crossbar, then off somewhat of a broken play, they end up scoring. For me, that was a big part of the game."
Patric Hornqvist's power-play goal with 2:36 left got the Penguins within 4-2 before Lars Eller's empty-netter.
NOTES: Capitals RW T.J. Oshie returned after missing one game with a lower-body injury. D Taylor Chorney was scratched. ... Washington's Barry Trotz coached his 1,401st game, passing Pat Quinn for eighth place on the all-time NHL games coached list. He also passed Quinn for seventh place on the all-time wins list with 685. ... Penguins G Matt Murray, who missed two games with a lower-body injury, was cleared to return and served as the back-up with G Tristan Jarry going down to AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. ... The Penguins called up D David Warsofsky, who was scratched along with D Chad Ruhwedel (illness) and RW Tom Kuhnhackl. ... The teams meet again Monday night in Pittsburgh.
Updated January 12, 2017