PITTSBURGH—It was, in many ways, Sidney Crosby's remarkable career distilled to its essence.
Game on the line. A wide-open net. A race to the puck.
These are the moments the Pittsburgh Penguins' star embraces as well as anyone in his sport.
Of course he beat Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele to the crease. Of course he poked the puck over the goal line with 21 seconds left in overtime to give the Penguins a 4-3 victory last night.
Of course he provided the exclamation point on the same night he became just the 86th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 career points.
“It's nice to win the game when you have a memorable night like this,” Crosby said.
“You want to finish it the right way.”
The two-time MVP and Stanley Cup winner reached 1,000 points in 757 games. Only 11 players got there faster—and none of them are playing anymore.
But Crosby is. Spectacularly.
Crosby finished with a goal and two assists to give him 1,002 in his career and 64 on the season, which also happens to be tops in the NHL.
Same as it ever was for the 29-year-old who remains very much in the thick of his prime.
“The fact he scores the game-winner is apropos given he gets the 1,000th point in the game,” said Penguins' coach Mike Sullivan.
“I think the sky's the limit for Sid," he added. "I think he's that good of a player.”
After getting to 1,000 with an assist on Chris Kunitz's first-period goal, Crosby began the march to the next 1,000 when he helped set up Phil Kessel's game-tying goal in the third.
He then capped it by getting to Evgeni Malkin's centering pass a half-step before Scheifele.
Malkin also scored for Pittsburgh while Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 44 shots for the Penguins, who improved to 6-0-2 since the all-star break.
Patrik Laine scored his 27th for Winnipeg. Paul Postma netted his first while Dustin Byfuglien his eighth for the Jets.
Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves but couldn't get a handle on Crosby's 31st of the season and 369th goal of his career.
Crosby insisted as the milestone approached that he'd be happy once it was out of the way so the focus could swing back to Pittsburgh's chase of first-place Washington in the relentlessly competitive Metropolitan Division.
Elsewhere in the NHL, Edmonton doubled Philadelphia 6-3, Ottawa blanked New Jersey 3-0, and St. Louis edged Vancouver 4-3
Minnesota beat Dallas 3-1, the N.Y. Islanders doubled the N.Y. Rangers 4-2, Buffalo blanked Colorado 2-0, and Arizona downed L.A. 5-3.