We've said it time and time again over the last 10-14 days: Valeri Nichushkin's first NHL goal was coming. You could feel it, similar to the feeling about Jamie Benn in his first season.
The rookie finally broke through today with a beauty of a shot over Craig Anderson's shoulder for his first career tally and his third NHL point.
The video, from SportsNet rather than Ralph and Razor, say sorry...
At the onset of the breakout Nichushkin is all the way down in the corner defensively trying to break up the play, and he hustles all the way down the length of the ice to become the trailer and the recipient of the pass with space in the slot to work.
The Senator forwards didn't work to get back as hard as Val did, and he reaps the rewards. Good work all around from an 18 year-old whose game is nearly unrecognizable from the preseason and early regular season. In a good way.
More impressive still were his overtime exploits as he nearly scored the game winner (though it ended tragically with a solemn scene as Craig Anderson was loaded onto a stretcher. Here's hoping he's OK...)
A few other observations:
-I focused on it in the recap and I'll focus on it again... The Senator power play generated momentum for them in not scoring, then generated the game-tying goal in actually connecting. The Stars' power play generated nothing of the sort. It's been 0% at home and now is getting worse on the road. It needs to connect, or at least put the other team in their heels.
-Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn were separated, then reunited later in the game due almost entirely to Seguin's faceoff futility. At one point he was 1-of-13. Kyle Turris took nine of ten from Seguin tonight.
-So Eakin, Chiasson and Whitney were back together at the end of the game as a result, but Peverley stayed with Fiddler and Roussel, and that line was good. And of course that means that by game's end it was Benn, Seguin and Nichushkin. So the line-shuffling is far from over.
-Is the Senator's building just falling apart, or what?
-Razor called the "defense to offense interchange at times mystifying", with more tact (naturally) than we sometimes use. When will the miscommunications and turnovers begin to ebb a little rather than this heavy flow?
-Ottawa out-attempted Dallas 62-60 overall.
-Jordie Benn left the game with an apparent lower body injury, went down the tunnel, tested it, left again and then returned to finish the game, so we'll eagerly await answers there. To lose him would be a significant blow to the group.
Here's that own goal-