During the overtime period of Thursday’s matchup with Detroit, Sidney Crosby did a tremendous job of boxing out J.T. Compher to pick up the rebound off an attempt from Rickard Rakell.

The captain then delivered a pass to Erik Karlsson in the slot, who wound up and blasted a shot through to help the Penguins beat Detroit in a matchup that had huge implications, moving the Penguins into a playoff spot and giving them control of their destiny with three games to go.

The puck was grabbed for Crosby as he recorded his 1,000th career assist on the play, becoming just the 14th player in NHL history and seventh fastest (1,269 GP) to reach that milestone.

“It's probably apropos that it's an overtime goal that he gets the assist on,” Penguins Head Coach Mike Sullivan said with a smile. “I think this one is a huge milestone. There’s not too many guys that get 1,000 assists.”

With his three-point performance, Crosby entered the NHL’s top-10 point scorers list with 1,591. He is the first player to enter the top-10 since Jaromir Jagr did so over 16 years ago on January 19, 2008.

“Think about that for a second,” Sullivan said. “It puts him in really elite company. The milestones he's achieving now, they're self-explanatory.”

That being said, Sullivan said he never gets tired talking about Crosby’s accomplishments. Meanwhile, the captain would rather focus on the team’s success. But it’s clear these ones were particularly special for Crosby, who grinned widely while posing with the 1,000 assists puck, and took photos with his teammates and family after the game.

When asked about being in the company of Joe Sakic (9th) and Mario Lemieux (10th), Crosby said, “that means a lot. I grew up watching those players that you named. Obviously, a big fan of the game and the history. That’s something that I’m honored to be a part of.”

It’s so fitting that Crosby’s achievements - which also include being named the 'Most Complete Player' for the fifth year in a row in the annual NHLPA Poll, and Team MVP for his third 40-goal season - are happening as part of this incredible run for the Penguins, who are 7-0-3 in their last 10 games. Sullivan always talks about how Crosby plays his best when the stakes are high, like his fellow all-time greats who have played the game – and that he’s run out of phrases to explain the captain’s contributions to helping the Penguins have success.

“These last couple weeks, watching him play, he’s a man on a mission,” said Alex Nedeljkovic, who’s been in goal for every contest. “It’s not very surprising. He does it every day. He comes into the rink every day, and treats his body well, and just cares so much and wants to win. Anything short of winning, it’s not acceptable. It’s just a testament to how hard he works, how hard he’s worked throughout his whole career. Coming in, every game, it seems like he’s setting a new milestone or setting a new record. It’s just been fun to be a part of.”

Especially because Crosby is truly the consummate teammate, leader, and ambassador.

“For me, the thing that I admire the most about him is the way he carries himself with such humility and integrity, and he just represents everything that's right about hockey,” Sullivan said.

“He's a special player but an even more special person. He's awesome,” longtime teammate Bryan Rust said. “He's leading this team right now. I think we're all just kind of getting in line behind him and trying to do everything we can.”