NHL Opening Night: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Scores First NHL Goal in Oilers Victory

Michael DeSantisSenior Analyst IOctober 10, 2011

Nugent-Hopkins celebrates his first career NHL goal
Nugent-Hopkins celebrates his first career NHL goalDale MacMillan/Getty Images

It seems like so many first overall NHL picks score their first NHL goal in their first NHL game. As an Islander fan, I remember when John Tavares did it a couple of years ago.

Nugent-Hopkins scored on the Pittsburgh Penguins with 4:55 left in the third period to tie the game up at one. He scored the goal off his own rebound, a nice, gritty goal.

Taylor Hall and Jeff Petry collected the assists.

Earlier in the game, the Penguins' goal was scored by Kris Letang 3:13 into the first period. Nobody would score again until Nugent-Hopkins lit the red lamp for the first time in his career.

It was the Edmonton Oilers' first game of the season, and at home as well.

The Oilers' goaltender, Devin Dubnyk, stopped an incredible 33 out of 34 shots to earn the win.

Jordan Eberle and Ales Hemsky scored in the shootout to secure the Oilers' victory, while Dubnyk stopped two out of three Penguins shooters.

Nugent-Hopkins drove to the net in on Brent Johnson, fending off some Penguins trying to knock him off the puck. He took a slap shot on the Penguins goaltender, which Johnson turned aside. Then, on the rebound, Nugent-Hopkins went to the backhand and slipped it in on the far post, helping the Oilers make it to overtime, eventually leading to the victory.

Despite it being only his first game and first goal, Nugent-Hopkins showed he's not afraid to get to the dirty areas, making me really respect him. If he can keep playing like that, he'll have a great career.