35 Most Memorable First Goals in NHL History
You always remember it: your first love, car, flat-screen television, donkey, Harlem Shake or NHL goal.
While most of us will never get to the goal-scoring part of life's firsts, NHL players will never forget the first time they lit the lamp. Even Paul Bissonnette has scored an NHL goal. In fact, he has five. Who knew, right?
The following slides show some of the best players past and present in the NHL and their first landmark moment in the NHL spotlight. If you see that I've omitted a deserving player, it probably means that I couldn't track down the footage or that the quality was bad. It doesn't mean the goals or players weren't memorable, just that nobody was there to provide a quality image of it.
Otherwise, enjoy this collection of fresh-faced NHL rookies as they get in the scoring column for the first time.
Vladimir Tarasenko came into the NHL after impressing in the KHL during the lockout. His debut against the rival Detroit Red Wings was notable to say the least. This was his first goal, but his second was even more of a beauty.
Highly touted Boston Bruins' defensive prospect Dougie Hamilton gets to play with the big boys this year. He rifled in this power-play slap shot for his first career marker against Buffalo.
Chris Tanev didn't enter the NHL with much hype. The Vancouver Canucks signed him as a free agent out of Rochester Institute of Technology.
He made an immediate impression on the Vancouver fans with his first career goal in his ninth game. The overtime winner against division rival Edmonton avenged an early-season home loss and kept a Canuck winning streak alive.
The top pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft wasted little time notching his first goal on the power play in Edmonton's home debut. Unfortunately, the Oilers gave up six first-period goals to San Jose to dampen the spirits in Edmonton.
Technically, this wasn't Damien Brunner's first official NHL goal. He would knock that in the next night with three seconds left on the clock in a 2-1 home loss to Dallas.
This shootout goal may not be official, but it better showcases the silky mitts and filthy stick work that Brunner brings to Hockeytown.
Jonathan Huberdeau is the future of the Florida Panthers' franchise. Opening night in South Beach gave Panther fans optimism that the future might be here sooner than later.
His first shot on goal beat Cam Ward early in the first period and ignited a four-goal onslaught. The Panthers would go on to win 5-1 but could muster only five goals in losing their next five games.
NHL legend Peter Forsberg kicked off his Hall of Fame career with a nice two-on-one finish against the Buffalo Sabres in 1994. His 13-year NHL career was cut short by injuries, but Forsberg managed to score 248 more goals and win a 2003 Hart Trophy and two Stanley Cups.
The first of Steven Stamkos' two goals in this clip is a deflection from Vincent Lecavalier's slap shot. The second is a more definitive example of what Stamkos has done in the league since his arrival in 2008.
Being tagged as the next great player rarely results in a player meeting those expectations. But Sidney Crosby has done that and then some in his young career. If he can stay healthy, Crosby can become an all-time great.
His first goal came in his second NHL game against the Boston Bruins. Crosby would only get to play 26 games with his boss and mentor Mario Lemieux before Super Mario retired for good in the 2005-06 season.
Mario Lemieux rose through the junior ranks as the player who would be able to break all of Wayne Gretzky's scoring records. He scored his first career goal on the first shot of his first shift. It was definitely a sign of things to come.
Young Flyers captain Claude Giroux has caught fire lately, as he tries to turn around the Flyers' season. His first NHL goal showcased his speed and skill at getting behind the defense.
Russian phenom Evgeni Malkin is a point-producing machine. His inaugural foray into the goal-scoring category wasn't the prettiest, but he has more than made up for it with goals like this.
Of course, Ron Hextall isn't the only goalie to score in an NHL game, but he was the first to do it by shooting on an empty net. Hextall finished his career with two goals and 32 assists.
His style of play was aggressive with and without the puck, as is reflected in the two NHL records he holds: goals by a goaltender (two, tied with Martin Brodeur) and penalty minutes by a goalie in a season (113).
Leave it to Wayne Gretzky to score his first goal with a weird backhanded goal. The "Great One" would hit the twine 893 more times in his amazing career.
Here's his first professional goal if you get tired of the Star Wars-style fact list.
The greatest defenseman not named Bobby Orr got his first NHL goal in 1991 in his first NHL season. Nicklas Lidstrom, "The Perfect Human," would go on to win seven Norris Trophies and four Stanley Cups and score 264 goals.
One of the most electrifying scorers in the league was the "Russian Rocket," Pavel Bure. A 2012 inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Bure scorched the net 437 times in his injury-shortened career.
Included in this brief compilation are some dandies from Rick Nash. Look away if your name happens to be Keith Yandle or Derek Morris.
The big winger with the sick hands got his first marker in his first NHL game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Right below Steven Stamkos in the goal-scoring leaders this season is New York Islanders star John Tavares. The silky-smooth center got his first NHL goal on a sweet backhand over Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury.
Tyler Seguin might have set the bar a little high for himself with this nifty breakaway move in his second career game. His rookie season was unremarkable, as he scored only 11 goals in 74 games. The Bruins' star winger broke out last season and should put plenty more pucks in the net.
Alexander Ovechkin introduced himself to NHL goalies in typical fashion with a wicked one-timed slap shot. It would become a signature of Washington's explosive winger.
Ovechkin would average almost 54 goals per season over his first five years, leading the Washington Capitals back to relevance.
The top pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft wasted no time getting on the goal-scoring sheet. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins did it in dramatic fashion in the 2011-12 home opener.
Against the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins, Nugent-Hopkins scored the game-tying goal with fewer than four minutes remaining. The Oilers' top pick would score three goals two games later against Vancouver, the quickest hat trick by a No. 1 draft pick in NHL history.
If you are going to score your first NHL goal, why not do it in style against a hated rival? Jordan Eberle did just that with a blend of speed, dangling and finishing.
James Van Riemsdyk
James van Riemsdyk is a prototypical power forward, but he battled injuries and consistency issues in Philadelphia. The Flyers cut their losses and traded the young American wing to Toronto for Luke Schenn.
His first career goal showcases his talents. He has netted 12 goals through his first 22 games this season.
Jonathan Toews has a knack for finding his way behind defensemen, using his speed and filthy moves.
His first NHL goal came in his first game and gave Chicago Blackhawks fans hope that their Stanley Cup drought might be coming to an end.
Henrik Zetterberg scored his first career goal against the Ducks here on a line with Brendan Shanahan and Luc Robitaille. With those two Hall of Fame players on the ice, it's almost hard not to score.
Most notably, Zetterberg gets his first career goal without the power of his Zetterbeard.
Patrick Kane has some of the best hands in hockey and showed them off on his first goal. There will be plenty more for Chicago fans to cheer about, including Kane's weirdest goal, the 2010 Stanley Cup winner.
One of the most underrated players in the NHL, Los Angeles center Anze Kopitar has size and speed to go with unbelievable skills. His first NHL goal put those talents on display against the rival Anaheim Ducks. Kopitar scored twice in his debut, though the Kings lost the game.
Though he should make any list for his name alone, Kevin Shattenkirk's first NHL goal was a beauty.
Matt Duchene has scored some pretty goals in his brief NHL career, and this probably wouldn't crack the top 10. The Colorado announcers are pretty excited about it because it's his first goal, but I'm pretty sure Detroit goalie Chris Osgood would like to call a do-over on that shot.
It's hard to believe that Patrick Marleau has been around that long, but the young 18-year-old Marleau scored his first goal when Phoenix was wearing the "Van Gogh" Coyote sweaters.
Buffalo and Boston don't have the history that Boston and Montreal have, but they sure do hate each other. Brad Marchand isn't public enemy No. 1 in Buffalo, but he scored his first NHL goal in style on a shorthanded breakaway against the Sabres.
It hasn't been a good year for Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson, so let's look at some happier times when Karlsson's flow was tight, his Achilles was intact, and his slap shot was lethal.
Boston hates Montreal, plain and simple. Fear not, Boston, Montreal hates you just as much. P.K. Subban jumped right into that rivalry with his first regular-season goal against the Bruins.
His first official NHL goal came in the playoffs against the Penguins.
As the top pick in the 2010 NHL entry draft, Taylor Hall was expected to help restore some glory to the Edmonton Oilers. While the Oilers would continue to struggle, Hall was a bright spot, scoring 22 times, including his first against Columbus.
It has been said that Pavel Datsyuk can maneuver through five players in a phone booth. His first NHL marker provides a preview of just how nifty the Russian center's hands are.
Datsyuk's stick skills cause insomnia and profuse sweating among NHL goaltenders. I often find myself hoping Detroit goes to a shootout just to see what "Pasha" will do next.