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WASHINGTON – Alex Ovechkin scored twice to reach and exceed the 1,000-point plateau, leading the Washington Capitals to a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.
Becoming the 84th player in NHL history to hit the milestone, Ovechkin put the team on his back as Washington won its seventh consecutive game and snapped Pittsburgh's winning streak at five.
Justin Williams and Nicklas Backstrom also scored, and Braden Holtby made 30 saves.
Ovechkin wasted no time picking up his 1,000th point , beating Marc-Andre Fleury just 35 seconds in for his 20th goal this season. He's the only player to score 20 in every season since 2005-06, his rookie year.
In true Ovechkin fashion, the Russian superstar scored from his spot on the power play in the second period for his 1,001st point.
Evgeni Malkin, who was picked second behind Ovechkin in 2004, and Patric Hornqvist scored for Pittsburgh.
Brushing off the significance of reaching 1,000 points against rival Sidney Crosby and the Penguins, Ovechkin said he was glad to have the chance to do it at home. The man most responsible for the sellout streak that reached 338 games Wednesday got a roaring standing ovation and chants of "Ovi! Ovi!" as he waved to the crowd from the bench.
Ovechkin got another standing ovation following a video montage of some of the biggest milestones of his NHL career, to which he added another chapter against the Penguins. Leaving no doubt about the moment of celebration, Ovechkin curled, dragged, pulled up and fired a perfect wrist shot for his 545th goal that put him past Maurice "Rocket" Richard for sole possession of 29th on the all-time list.
Backstrom, a longtime linemate, fittingly picked up the primary assist on Ovechkin's 1,000-point goal and was recognized for reaching 500 career assists Saturday in Ottawa. It's been quite the week for the Capitals with those two milestones and a victory Thursday that snapped the Columbus Blue Jackets' winning streak at 16.
Thanks to points in their past eight games, the Capitals have vaulted to second place in the Metropolitan Division, just one point back of idle Columbus. Washington was in fourth place and nine back of the Blue Jackets on Dec. 28.
NOTES: Lars Eller scored an empty-netter off Penguins defenseman Kris Letang's helmet in the final seconds. ... Williams' goal was his 12th of the season. ... Fleury made 25 saves. ... G Matt Murray was back in uniform for the Penguins as Fleury's backup after missing two games with a lower-body injury. ... F T.J. Oshie had three of Washington's seven minor penalties in his return to the lineup after missing a game Monday in Montreal with an upper-body injury, an absence coach Barry Trotz called precautionary. ... Evgeny Kuznetsov, who made a spinning pass to set up Williams' goal, has nine points in five games. ... The Capitals are a league-best 22-3-3 when scoring first.
Penguins: Continue their road trip by visiting the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.
Capitals: Look for their eighth consecutive win Friday when they host the Chicago Blackhawks.
Follow Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SWhyno .