Alex Ovechkin and 25 Memorable 1st NHL Goals
This past week was historic for some NHL players, including the Washington Capitals Cody Eakin. What made this week so memorable for Eakin? He scored his first NHL goal.
If you ask NHL players what is their most memorable moment in their career, you would get a variety of responses: first NHL game, first playoff game, first Stanley Cup, etc. Another common option is the first NHL goal.
Now, no offense to Eakin, but for right now, his first NHL goal was mostly only memorable to him and his loved ones.
Throughout the years, though, there have been many first NHL goals that were very memorable for every watching because they were just awesome goals.
Here are video of some of the most memorable first NHL goals.
Note: Unfortunately, this list was limited to goals I could find video of.
Rick Nash has scored some beautiful goals in his NHL career, some of which are highlighted in this video.
However, the first is still one of the most memorable.
Most NHL players don't score their first NHL goal in their first NHL game; even some of the best players can't say that they scored their first in their first game.
Not Nash, though. He notched his first in his first game.
As Nash reflects on his first goal, he's still smiling like it was just yesterday, showing how memorable of an experience it truly is.
Pavel Datsyuk was drafted 171st in the 1998 NHL entry draft, so he wasn't expected to develop into the elite player he has become.
Looking back at Datsyuk's first NHL goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in 2001, it was the first of what would be many to come.
And many we'll continue to see for years to come.
Vincent Lecavalier was drafted first overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1998 NHL entry draft.
He wouldn't score his first NHL goal for eight games, which must have seemed like an eternity, especially the way he talks about it years after it happened.
However, he finally got that first one against the Vancouver Canucks and tied the game as an added bonus.
Sean Bergenheim isn't the most common name, but his first NHL goal was a pretty memorable one, for more than just him.
The New York Islanders were shorthanded against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but Bergenheim took the puck, weaved his way through opponents and put the puck in the net.
What a beauty.
Tyler Seguin was one of the top prospects in the 2010 NHL entry draft and ended up going second overall to the Boston Bruins.
Seguin began his NHL career in Europe, playing in the Premiere games.
That's also where he notched his first NHL goal, against the Phoenix Coyotes in the Czech Republic.
Ville Leino scored his first NHL goal as a member of the Detroit Red Wings against the Washington Capitals in 2008.
Not many players can pull off that spin-type of move and certainly not for their first career goal.
Leino did, though.
Evgeni Malkin scored his first NHL goal against the New Jersey Devils and against legendary goaltender Martin Brodeur.
Many young players hope to score against Brodeur at some point in their career, so it has to be even more memorable to score your first NHL goal against an elite goaltender like that.
Scott Niedermayer may be remembered as a fantastic defenseman, but his first NHL goal was pretty memorable, too.
The New Jersey Devils were playing the San Jose Sharks and Niedermayer gained possession of the puck.
He weaved his way through Sharks defenders, shot and scored.
Brett Lindros tallied his first NHL goal in a game between the New York Islanders and the Hartford Whalers.
There was some confusion in front of the net, but Lindros and the Islanders came away with the goal.
James Van Riemsdyk
James van Riemsdyk scored his first NHL goal on a breakaway shot against Tomas Vokoun and the Florida Panthers.
After watching van Riemsdyk on that breakaway, he looked more like a seasoned veteran than a rookie after his first career goal.
Jonathan Toews' first career NHL goal was a very memorable one.
The chance came in his first ever game against the San Jose Sharks, when Toews got a breakaway and put it right past the goaltender.
When you look at the goals that Steven Stamkos has scored in the past couple years—from tying for the Rocket Richard a couple years ago, to scoring another 45 goals last season and, most recently, his hat trick—you see an elite goalscorer.
That's why it's so odd that his first NHL goal would be pretty forgettable in the grand scheme of things, coming off a deflection of a Vincent Lecavalier shot.
As the announcer says, "...and so in rather anti-climatic fashion..." is a very accurate description of the goal.
John Tavares was the first draft pick in the 2009 NHL entry draft, and the pressure was on as we waited for his first goal.
He didn't disappoint with this beauty against Marc-Andre Fleury and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Tyler Bozak scored his first NHL goal against the Philadelphia Flyers in January of 2010.
The way Bozak breaks past the defenders and puts the puck in the net makes him look like an experienced player.
It was a fantastic goal and all the more memorable since it was Bozak's first.
Matt Gilroy of the New York Rangers scored his first NHL goal against the New Jersey Devils.
He moved past two Devils and worked the puck a bit before putting it in the net with a backhanded move.
Pavel Bure's first NHL game was much anticipated since the former member of the Vancouver Canucks happened to be born in the Soviet Union and therefore was not free to join the team that drafted him immediately.
However, when he finally was able to join the Canucks, he immediately made an impact.
His first NHL goal was no different and will be one of many moments people will always remember from Bure's career.
Goaltenders don't often get their names on the score sheet as scorers. On occasion, they'll get an assist, but very rarely do they ever get a goal.
That's why it's so memorable when any goaltender scores a goal.
Ron Hextall's was one of them.
What's even crazier is that if a goaltender is lucky or skilled enough to get a first NHL goal, they rarely ever get any after that.
Not Hextall. He'd go on to score another goal in his career.
Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers scored his first NHL goal against the Calgary Flames and boy, was it a beauty.
It would also become a "Goal of the Year" candidate, which is a rarity for a rookie to warrant a nomination for, especially as their first NHL goal ever.
Derek Stepan scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game in October 2010. Then he scored his second NHL goal in the same game.
And then his third.
Yes, Stepan notched a hat trick in his first-ever NHL game, a feat only accomplished by three other players in NHL history.
Now, that's a very memorable first NHL game, even more so than it generally would be.
In a game against the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings rookie Anze Kopitar tallied his first NHL goal.
What made it even more memorable is how the young forward thought to put the puck over J.S. Giguere to get the puck in the net.
It showed the type of hockey smarts that not many rookies have.
This year, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is already making an early but pretty convincing case that he should be the Calder Trophy winner and a great player in the league for years.
Therefore, his first career goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins is a memorable clip that we just might be watching for years to come, to remember how this young player's career began.
Wayne Gretzky will always be remembered for his NHL goals. After all, as the video points out, he holds pretty much all the NHL records that one could possibly hold regarding goals and scoring.
He had to start somewhere, though, and that's why even though he would go on to score so many more, his first one will always be memorable, too.
Mario Lemieux, the other greatest hockey player of all time, lived up to the hype surrounding him coming into his first NHL game.
He scored his first NHL goal on his first shot against the Boston Bruins.
It's no wonder they called him "Le Magnifique."
Sidney Crosby found an opening and scored his first NHL goal in front of the hometown crowd.
Ironically, like the great Pittsburgh Penguins captain before him, Crosby's first goal came against the Boston Bruins.
Alex Ovechkin, arguably the most prolific goalscorer since Wayne Gretzky, scored his first NHL goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
It would be the first of many other beautiful goals, some that were so amazing that they really overshadowed that first one.
But the first will always be memorable because without it, none of the others could ever happen.