After spending last year in junior and missing the start of this season with a broken thumb, former Tampa Bay Lightning third overall pick Jonathan Drouin has his first NHL goal in just his third game.
With Nikita Kucherov holding the puck behind the Winnipeg Jets’ net, Drouin took a hit along the boards and peeled away from defender to go for the slot. Kucherov dished the puck out to Drouin for a one-timer and Drouin buried it over Ondrej Pavelec’s shoulder to give his Tampa Bay Lightning a 2-1 lead.
It was Drouin’s second point of the night, after he assisted on Steven Stamkos’ first-period tally on a beautiful back-and-forth dash up the ice that saw Drouin hook the puck to Stamkos for a tap-in at the last moment.
The Lightning won the game 4-2, and drove Pavelec out of the net after two periods.
Kucherov had three assists on the night, including the primary helper on Drouin’s goal.
Drouin’s first goal has been a long time coming. The third overall pick in 2013 failed to stick with the Bolts after training camp last year, and spent the season lighting up the Quebec Major Junior League with the Halifax Mooseheads to the tune of 29 goals and 108 points in 46 games.
Then, after making the Lightning to start the season, Drouin suffered a broken thumb and missed the start of the 2014-15 campaign. His belated debut came Oct. 20 against Edmonton and his first career point came a day later against the Flames in Calgary.
It’s been a memorable road trip through western Canada for the young winger, and he still has a stop over in Minnesota before he can make his home ice debut.
Drouin will play his first game in front of a Tampa crowd on Tuesday when the Arizona Coyotes come to town.