New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes has dazzled fans and confounded opponents in his first NHL season. And the 22-year-old continued that pattern Tuesday with an incredibly athletic goal against the arch-rival New York Islanders.
Hayes was the beneficiary of a tremendous pass from right winger Mats Zuccarello, but still had to fight off Isles defenseman Thomas Hickey, steady his body, turn around and wire a wrist shot past goalie Jaroslav Halak while rugged winger Matt Martin was bearing down on him:
The goal was Hayes' 13th of the season and 30th point in 62 games. The Boston native won't be named the NHL's top first-year player – for as good as he is, we've seen better years from Calgary's Johnny Gaudreau, Nashville's Filip Forsberg and Florida's Aaron Ekblad – but he's proving to be indispensable to the Blueshirts, and one of the most entertaining members of a talented, deep roster.