It’s a new season, with many rookies dotting rosters across the NHL. And, with so many newbies taking the ice to start the season, it stands to reason that the early going will feature a number of first NHL goals from said rookies.
That has been the case so far at the start of the 2015-16 NHL campaign, with eight rookies connecting for their first official goal in an NHL uniform on the first two nights of the season. All but one of those goals were tallied by Western Conference rookies, including three on the opening night of the season.
The first two introductory tallies were both scored in the opening game in Chicago, where the Blackhawks raised their Stanley Cup banner before taking on the New York Rangers. The Rangers spoiled the party, however, posting a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks’ faithful barely had time to settle in after the national anthems before the Rangers’ Oscar Lindberg netted the first of his career. On a rush into the Blackhawks’ zone, Rangers forward J.T. Miller gained control of the puck and moved towards the middle of the ice, where he then spotted Lindberg moving towards the net on the right wing.
Almost 14 minutes after Lindberg’s goal, Chicago rookie Artemi Panarin netted his first as an NHL player. Blackhawks’ star forward Patrick Kane gained control of the puck and moved it into the Rangers’ zone along the left wall. Kane then found a wide open Panarin moving through the middle of ice.
San Jose Sharks free agent signing Joonas Donskoi completed the first-goal “hat trick” on opening night, making use of his body to notch the final goal in a 5-1 win for the Sharks over the Los Angeles Kings.
With the Sharks working in the Kings’ zone, San Jose defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic fired the puck towards Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick. The puck then deflected to Sharks’ captain Joe Pavelski, who fired a shot on the Kings’ net.
Thursday night’s games brought a veritable bumper crop of first NHL goals, with the most anxiously awaited marker coming off the stick of the second overall selection from the 2015 NHL Draft.
With excitement in Buffalo at a fever pitch after the re-tooling of the team’s lineup over the past several months, the Ottawa Senators came to town and poured cold water on that good vibe by posting a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. But the one goal by the Sabres created the loudest cheers of the night, as prized rookie Jack Eichel connected on what the Sabres hope will be the first of many for the talented youngster.
With the Sabres on a third period power play and working in the Senators’ zone, Buffalo forward Evander Kane gained control of the puck along the right wall and moved it into the corner, where he then moved it to Marcus Foligno to the right of Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson. Foligno then spotted Eichel in the left faceoff circle, and fed him the puck.