The other night, Evgeni Malkin talked about his mindset when he takes the ice.
"Every game, I think, 'I need to score tonight," he said. "I try to do my best and help the team to win. It's a good building here. I'm glad the fans are back. I know the fans love hockey here. It's so loud. Just play hard."
That's exactly what Malkin did on Monday at PPG Paints Arena, putting on quite the show for the crowd on his way to reaching the momentous milestone of 1,100 points.
He was two shy entering this evening's game against the Bruins, and registered an assist in the first period before scoring a power-play goal in the second period of Pittsburgh's 4-1 win - their sixth straight victory.
Malkin reached the milestone in just 935 games, becoming the second-fastest active player to do so after Sidney Crosby, who reached it in 850 games on March 7, 2018. Malkin also joined Alex Ovechkin (1,298) and Sergei Fedorov (1,179) as the only Russian-born players in league history to reach this milestone.
As the stat line was announced - with the assists fittingly coming from Crosby and Kris Letang - the fans cheered for Malkin as he was shown on the videoboard. He acknowledged them with a wave.
"He's just dominant," Crosby said of Malkin. "That's what sticks out the most. When he has the puck, it's hard to take it from him. He's seeing the ice really well; he's shooting the puck. When he's going like that, there's not much you can do to stop him. He's so big and I think just the way he's carrying the puck, you can tell that he's really confident."
That confidence was missing from Malkin's play at the beginning of the year, as the 34-year-old got off to a relatively slow start this season for a number of different factors.
He had to adjust his offseason training back in his native Russia, and Malkin - a passionate player who feeds off the energy of the crowd - also said it was difficult for him personally to play in empty buildings.
But now the fans are back, and his game is too.
"I don't think anyone in our locker room ever doubted that he would turn it on," linemate Evan Rodrigues said. "It's not really that he didn't have it at the beginning of the year. Sometimes it's just bounces and sometimes when things are going down, you got to really dig deep to get going."
Malkin is currently on an eight-game point streak, which is tied with Carolina's Dougie Hamilton for the league's longest active streak. He has piled up four goals and eight assists over that span.
Going back even further, Malkin has points in 12 of his last 14 appearances, and points in each of his last eight home games.
"Geno's a guy that I think relies so heavily on his confidence level, and he puts a lot of pressure on himself to produce offensively for our team," head coach Mike Sullivan said. "And when it doesn't go the right way, I think he's harder on himself than anyone. When a few of the pucks go in the net for him and he's getting opportunities to score, I think you can see his confidence build and usually his game follows.
"He's playing a strong game right now. Obviously, he's a dominant player for us. He's contributing offensively, he's a threat when he's going over the boards, you just notice him every time he's on the ice. It feels like the puck follows him around, and that's when you know when he's on his game."