It was truly a night of firsts in the NHL, last night.
Buffalo Sabres’ 2015 2nd-overall pick Jack Eichel gave Sabres fans a reason to cheer when he blasted a shot past Craig Anderson, in the third period of Thursday night’s encounter with the Ottawa Senators. As remarkable as his goal may have been, he wasn’t the only one to record his first career NHL goal. In fact, there were three more players to do so on this night.
Viktor Arvidsson gave the Nashville Predators a 2-0 lead, late in the first period, against the Carolina Hurricanes when a Seth Jones point shot ricocheted off of him and into the net. The goal would stand as the game-winner, as the Predators went on to defeat the Hurricanes by a score of 2-1.
The St. Louis Blues dominated the Edmonton Oilers, but it was thanks to Robby Fabbri scoring his first career goal that the Blues walked away with two points. Midway into the second period, Fabbri took a wonderful slot pass from Jori Lehtera and buried it past Cam Talbot, putting his team up for good. Troy Brouwer scored an empty net goal and Brian Elliott stopped 23 of 24 shots in a 3-1 victory.
The Winnipeg Jets were well on their way to a victory over the Boston Bruins, leading by a score of 4-2 midway into the third period, when an Andrew Copp shot attempt from just outside the slot bounced off the heel of Nic Petan‘s skate, and just trickling behind Tuukka Rask. The 5’9 rookie was appearing in his first NHL game, and his goal aided the Jets in securing the win, as they walked all over the Bruins and beat them by a score of 6-2.
Mattias Janmark looked to out-do his peers, and he did so by scoring his first career goal, in his first career game, on his very first shift in the NHL. The 22-year-old Swede has played for Frolunda of the SweHL, and while his graduation to the NHL came as no surprise, nobody could have predicted him scoring his first as quickly as he did. The goal would stand as the game-winner, as the Dallas Stars put away Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-0.
In a night of firsts, goaltender Antti Niemi not only had his fair share, but he made history as well. Since he was in goal for Dallas’ 3-o victory, he became the first goaltender to secure a shut-out in the 2015-16 season. Despite the fact that the Stars were out-shot 37-24, Niemi stood his ground and looked dominant in goal. But it’s what he did at the other end of the ice that made history. On top of his shut-out, Niemi notched not one but two assists in the win, becoming the first goaltender in NHL history to assist on two goals and have a shut-out.
And if that wasn’t enough, Zach Parise recorded the first hat-trick of the 2015-16 season, aiding the Minnesota Wild to defeat the Colorado Avalanche by a score of 5-4. The Wild were facing a mountain to climb up when they were down 3-0 by the end of the first period. Parise’s first goal made it a two-goal game, however they found themselves back down by three goals after forty minutes. Parise then notched two more tallies, including the game-winner on the powerplay, and the Wild shocked the Avalanche crowd.