OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Ottawa Senators forward Claude Giroux joined an illustrious group Monday night with a pair of goals and an assist in a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes to reach 1,000 career NHL points.
Giroux became the 96th player to achieve the milestone.
“Yeah, I mean, I have a lot of family here right now,” said Giroux. “So, it’s special and my wife and my two boys are here and my parents and it was really cool.”
The 35-year-old entered the game needing two points to hit the momentous marker and took less than one period to make it happen.
Giroux picked up point 999 with his 33rd goal of the season just after the five-minute mark and number 1,000 came on an assist when he set up Tim Stutzle with under three minutes remaining in the period.
Captain Brady Tkachuk had a secondary assist on the play and motioned to his teammates to join him on the ice to celebrate the moment.
“Yeah, just trying to keep my emotions intact and you know, I knew it was going to happen that they were going to come all on the ice, but to actually happen it was definitely a little different, but it was special,” said Giroux.
Helping Giroux achieve the milestone on home ice was important for Tkachuk and Stutzle, who hold their linemate in high regard.
“Thankfully we did it in the first period,” joked Tkachuk. “So, for me, for the both of us, just to kind of contribute, just a little part of his unbelievable career. Honestly we’ve talked about it, it’s truly special for the both of us.”
Giroux scored his second of the night midway through the third to give Ottawa a 3-2 lead, and the win, tying his career-high of 34 set in 2017-18.
Mads Sogaard saved 27 to ensure the victory.
The Hurricanes hold a one-point lead on the New Jersey Devils for first place in the Metropolitan Division, but it appears it will come down to the final two games of the season. Both teams close out the season with games Tuesday and Thursday.
“We started just terribly,” said Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour. “Never really got going at all. Give the other team a lot of credit - they played a real good game. But we were just in quicksand.”
With the playoffs just over a week away the Hurricanes were disappointed with their effort.
“We weren’t playing with a lot of speed, we weren’t playing with a lot of aggression,” said Jaccob Slavin.
“I mean, we’re a puck-pressuring team, and when we did have the puck we weren’t doing what we normally do. We get it in deep, we forecheck, we grind them down low and we didn’t really have any grind time in the (offensive) zone today like we normally do.”
Trailing 2-1 to start the third, Hurricanes’ defenseman Brent Burns tied the game with a power-play goal.
Carolina had a two-man advantage for 45 seconds midway through the period, but failed to capitalize. With time remaining in the second power play Stefan Noesen took a goaltender interference penalty and was given an additional unsportsmanlike penalty.
Giroux went on to give the Senators the lead scoring four-on-four.
Joe Pavelski, of the Dallas Stars, also earned his 1,000th point on Monday, marking the first time in NHL history that two players reached 1,000 points in the same day.
Hurricanes: Host Detroit on Tuesday night in regular season home finale.
Senators: At Buffalo on Thursday night to close the season.
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