Nikita Zaitsev’s first NHL goal was a pretty big one. Not only did the 25-year-old Russian finally score it in his 30th game, after 40 shots on net through his career so far, but it tied the game mere seconds after the Penguins took the lead, and allowed the stage to later be set for Jake Gardiner’s overtime winner.
Zaitsev’s first was a dramatic one, and you don’t always get that.
His family must have been going nuts after that. They were in Toronto, but... not at the ACC. Via Sportsnet:
“It’s like [I’m] 17 years old right now,” said Zaitsev. “Unbelievable feelings.”
“My family is in town,” he explained. “Today, they decide not to watch the game in the rink. So they’re in a bar. It’s unbelievable.”
The timing is amazing, if the location was only ever-so-slightly off. But at least they were probably able to meet up after Zaitsev’s milestone - and he would no doubt have a gift for them.
Zaitsev is giving the puck from his first NHL goal to his parents. "This is the most important puck." #Leafs— Michael Augello (@MikeInBuffalo) December 18, 2016
What a moment for the entire family. Congrats to the Zaitsevs, and especially Nikita!