On their third shift of Thursday's game against Winnipeg at PPG Paints Arena, Sidney Crosby's line had the puck down in the offensive zone when Blake Wheeler got possession of it and tried to exit the zone.
Not so fast.
Crosby skated to him, overpowered the 6-foot-5, 225-pound forward and stripped him of the puck. Crosby then quickly passed it over to Chris Kunitz - who whipped it past Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck.
Video: WPG@PIT: Crosby sets up Kunitz for 1,000th point
A pretty typical Crosby play, but not a typical point. Crosby's primary assist on the play was the 1,000th point of his illustrious and decorated career. It may have taken a little longer than he wanted to, but he couldn't be happier to reach the milestone and get it here at home.
"It's great. I was hovering around it for a while, so nice to get it, nice to get a win," he said. "I was just kind of going after a loose puck. Got it on my stick and turned and 'Kuni' was there. I could tell he was ready to shoot it. So he's backing up and he's scored a lot from that area over the years. Just kind of typical play from him to find that seam and bury it."
It was fitting that Kunitz was the one who buried the pass, as he's factored into the second-most points of any player who has skated alongside Crosby, behind only Evgeni Malkin. The veteran winger and longtime linemate has been involved in 185 of Crosby's 1,000 points.
"It's funny the way things work out," Crosby said. "Kuni's been the guy I played with the most over my time here. We've played a lot together and in a lot of different games and situations, it was fun for him to be the one to get it."
A joyful scene unfolded afterward for the historical moment in Pens' history. First, Crosby's teammates that were on the ice with him immediately mobbed him, before Kunitz and Kris Letang peeled off to chase the referee for the milestone puck to give to their captain.
"Oh man, I just wanted to be on the ice," Letang said. "We played so many years together. He makes everyone better around him and it is a great milestone. For not even 30 years old it is pretty incredible. He is a special player. I think the whole bench was pretty happy for him."
They certainly were. Because after that, more of Crosby's teammates actually left the bench to come onto the ice and congratulate him, and when he went to skate along the bench - where the coaching staff was clapping in recognition - for the typical post-goal fist-bump, they all got up and surrounded him. Marc-Andre Fleury even skated up from his crease to give Crosby a hug.
"I was happy. I was happy to be there with them," Fleury said. "I'm so proud of him. He is a good friend. He is a great captain. It works out and he deserves it."
The entire time, the fans at PPG Paints Arena were on their feet loudly cheering their appreciation for the player who has been the franchise since he was drafted by the team first overall in 2005.
Crosby's parents, Troy and Trina, were among them, something he was very appreciative for. Because while Troy had already been in town coming off the Dads' Trip, Trina almost didn't make it to see her son's milestone in person.
"It's kind of funny how things work out," Crosby said. "There was a storm at home, so she couldn't get here for the prior game. So I'm glad I could get it done with her here."
It was so loud, so raucous, so electric in the building, the referees actually paused the game to let the moment, 12 years in the making, unfold. And during that time, as the scoring line for the incredible milestone was announced, Crosby skated out and lifted his stick to salute them right back.
"I think it gives you a little boost when you get an ovation like that," he said. "I certainly appreciated that. Thinking back to different moments since I've been here in Pittsburgh, that's right up there. I certainly appreciate it and I tried to soak up every second and take it all in."
Shortly after, during a TV timeout, a tribute played on the videoboard - and that's when it really sunk in for Crosby.
"It's pretty emotional, especially when you start to look up at the jumbotron and you see all those things," he admitted. "They go by pretty quick. You flash on all these different plays and years and that's how fast it feels, when you're looking at it. I think just time goes by quick, but you really try to soak in moments like that."
Crosby said the emotions didn't make him lose his focus. In fact, they motivated him. And even though the Pens let a 2-0 lead turn into a 3-2 deficit and lost Justin Schultz and Olli Maatta along the way, they were able to tie the game and force overtime - where Crosby ended up getting the overtime winner.
A perfect end to a wonderful night.
"It's nice to win the game," Crosby said. "When you have a memorable night like this you want to finish the right way. It wasn't easy for us going down a couple D halfway through the game. That's a lot of time to have to play two men down like that. We got in some penalty trouble and things like that. I think we were probably guilty of trying to run the clock out and keep the lead sitting back, that's easy to do when you're missing some guys. We had to turn things around there late but we found a way."