Jake Virtanen scored what will stand up as one of the most painful goals of the season. In pre-season action Thursday, Virtanen directed a puck in with his face and required a few stitches. The 19-year-old came back to the game, though, and finished with one (unpleasant) goal and three points.
Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen’s stat-line Thursday was an interesting one: he registered one goal, two assists and a few stitches after deflecting a puck into the Edmonton net with his face.
With the Canucks up 3-2 and on the power play in pre-season action, the puck was worked back to the blueline where Yannick Weber unleashed a shot that was deflected on its way towards the goal. The puck’s trajectory changed, glanced off of Virtanen’s face and dropped into the net behind Oilers netminder Cam Talbot.
Virtanen’s tally — which the NHL listed as his via deflection — left him bloodied, but he was able to skate off under his own power and even gave the Edmonton crowd a wave as he headed for the dressing room:
There are two awful parts about Virtanen’s goal. First, the obvious, is that he had to take a puck to the face. The second, though, is when Virtanen’s NHL career ends, whenever that may be, this will almost certainly be one of the most memorable goals he has ever scored, for all the wrong reasons…and it won’t even count in his career totals. Pre-season goals can help you make a team, but they’re not putting you in the history books.
Thankfully, Virtanen was all right and returned to the game in time for the third period. Virtanen, now patched up, hit the ice for an eight-second shift early in the third. No, not because he was feeling ill effects from the puck to the face, but rather because his beautiful feed led to a Bo Horvat goal. Good to see a puck to the face won’t slow Virtanen down.
That Virtanen’s goal counted, and that he came back to get an assist, might make it one of the most memorable header-goals of all time. Of course, Chicago Blackhawks winger Andrew Shaw grabbed his fair share of headlines for a header against the Anaheim Ducks in the post-season, but that tally didn’t count.