Amidst all the other accolades rookies Bo Horvat, John Klingberg, and Adam Clendening may receive, you can be certain that one thing they’ll never forget is there first NHL goals. For each, that marker came on Thursday night.
Horvat, the ninth overall pick in the 2013 draft, has only suited up for seven games for the Vancouver Canucks due to a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the first month of the season. It was lucky number seven that provided the former London Knight with his first tally:
Not hard to tell Horvat was making sure that puck got on net with some oomph. From the moment the pass was coming, the 19-year-old was loading up to fire it, and it found the back of the net behind Anaheim Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen.
For Klingberg, his first career goal came on a move you’d expect from a veteran defenseman:
Instead of firing the puck right off the draw, Klingberg was patient enough to toe-drag the puck around Coyotes winger Mikkel Boedker, wait for an opening above Mike Smith’s glove, and wire a wrist shot. The goal is made better by Darryl Reaugh’s call, no doubt.
But when it comes to making the most of an opportunity, it’s hard not to give the nod for best first goal of the night to Clendening, if for no other reason that how long he waited to get it. Everyone has heard the stories of Mario Lemieux’s first goal coming on his first shot of his first shift. While Clendening can’t lay claim to potting his first goal on his first shift, he can at least say he wasn’t far off:
Not a bad time start for the rookie. Two shifts, some power play time, and your first career goal? It’s hard to believe Clendening could have drawn it up any better himself.
Hopefully for all three it will be the first of many.