A Fine Way to Score One’s First NHL Goal, and Other Highlights From a Great Night of Hockey

We’d imagine that scoring your first NHL goal is pretty memorable (even if it’s not technically the first time you put a puck in the net during a league game). Scoring that goal in overtime, it stands to reason, would be even better. But scoring that goal from an impossible angle, and past a goaltender who’d been sharp all night, to snap your team’s two-game losing streak? Welcome to the NHL, Mats Zuccarello.

Here’s video of the goal, on an opportunity created by Brandon Dubinsky’s rush up the ice — one that gave the Rangers a 2–1 win in a game that saw stellar goaltending on both ends, some Staal-on-Staal violence, and the Rangers bouncing back after allowing the game-tying goal with under seven minutes to go:

We’ll have more on the Rangers later on today in our mid-season report, but this seems like as good a place as any to point out that last night provided some great hockey moments beyond the first career goal for the Norwegian Hobbit Wizard. (We know he doesn’t like that nickname, but it’s not our fault he looks like Elijah Wood.)

Up in Buffalo, at the World Junior Hockey Championships, Russia pulled off a stunning comeback against the Canadians, rallying from a three-goal third-period deficit to win 5–3. To give you an idea of how seriously the Canadians take this stuff, we direct you to this TSN highlight package, which includes a clip of the Canadian prime minister watching the game on TV while wearing a Team Canada jersey and celebrating a goal before everything fell apart. (The United States won bronze, by the way, and Rangers draft pick Chris Kreider scored twice in the victory over Sweden that secured the medal.)

And on HBO, we got to see one final episode of the cable network’s terrific 24/7 show, this one focusing mostly on the Winter Classic itself. A highlight from last night: After the Penguins skated off the rink without shaking hands with the Capitals, Washington coach Bruce Boudreau uttered what we think may be the hockey-est phrase ever spoken: “Fuck them, eh?” Go ahead and crack that beer, Bruce. You’ve earned it. Oh, also, as a service to viewers of the show, we checked with our copy editor regarding the proper spelling of Boudreau’s apparent favorite new word. It’s shitbums, one word, no hyphen. You’re welcome.

A Fine Way to Score One’s First NHL Goal, and Other Highlights From a Great Night of Hockey