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Sidney Crosby hoping milestone comes quickly

Penguins forward wants to reach 1,000 NHL points before it becomes distraction

by Jerry Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Sidney Crosby leads the NHL with 30 goals and has 60 points in 47 games but isn't feeling the puck luck.

As his countdown to 1,000 NHL points rolled through the Rocky Mountains on Thursday, the Pittsburgh Penguins center came up empty in a 4-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche and remained at 998 points. He has one point, an assist, in his past two games.

It's not exactly a slump; Crosby had two goals and an assist against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. But for someone who ranks fifth in NHL history with an average of 1.32 points per game, two games is long enough to become a tad annoyed, especially if you are two points shy of a milestone you want to hurdle.

"I'd like to have it done by now," Crosby said. "I've had a lot of good chances but I've found a lot of posts lately. Being so close, you just want to get it."

Crosby will play his 755th NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-A+, ROOT, NHL.TV). Unless it takes him nine games to get the two points, Crosby will be the 12th fastest player to reach 1,000, just ahead of Jaromir Jagr (763 games).

"Getting there is not something you think about when you think about playing in the NHL," Crosby said. "Each year, you get closer and you realize the company that you could join and it's pretty special. You reflect on the different seasons and all the different guys you played with. That's what makes it special."

Since he set up Mark Recchi for his first NHL point Oct. 5, 2005, against the New Jersey Devils, Crosby has won the Stanley Cup twice, battled injuries and enjoyed incredible seasons. But this season the Penguins are defending the Cup while Crosby, 29, is on track to score 40 goals for the second time and reach 100 points for the second time since 2009-10.

"Playing as much hockey as I have and playing as well as we have the last year and a half, and playing in the World Cup, all those things brings out the best in your game," he said.

Video: PIT@STL: Crosby scores 30th of season into empty net

Crosby shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, it might be the opposite.

"I think when you look at a player's career graph, by this time guys have usually hit a plateau or maybe are going the other way," said Pittsburgh assistant coach Rick Tocchet, who scored 952 NHL points.

"With [Crosby], I don't see the graph going down or neutral. I still see it climbing. He's getting wiser. The maturity has mixed with the hockey IQ that has always been through the roof. I don't know how much better you can get, [but] from what I see the arrow is still going up."

Crosby's work ethic plays a huge role as well.

"If he misses two empty nets he'll be at practice 50 minutes early the next day shooting 100 pucks," Tocchet said. "That's the thing you have so much respect for."

Video: PIT@STL: Crosby roofs a quick backhand from knee

Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said the numbers tell one story, but Crosby's true value to the Penguins isn't on the stat sheet.

"He's such a multifaceted player," Sullivan said. "I would argue that he could be in the running for the Selke Trophy as much as he does on the offensive side.

"He just loves to play. He's the ultimate competitor. He's the heartbeat of the group and he drives the team. The Stanley Cup run we went on last year was just a great testament to it."

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