Early in the third period Sunday, Capitals forward Jason Chimera made a move up the left wing into the Carolina Hurricanes’ zone. Usually, his speed means he’s there by himself, but today, thanks to what seemed a more deliberate pace, there was company—Joel Ward on the opposite boards, and in the center rookie defenseman Dmitry Orlov, whose hustle ended up carrying him past Chimera and towards the net.
Chimera shot. Cam Ward made sure he missed.
But the rebound came out just in time for Orlov to reach back as he skated past the net, and stick the puck past Ward for his first NHL goal. The smile that flashed on Orlov’s face afterwards pretty much rendered the red goal light unnecessary. And he put his team up 2-1, which would be the final score.
“Right then and there, you remember your first goal, when you scored your first NHL goal,” said Chimera, who had an assist and a hand in the initial on-ice celebration. “And it’s pretty cool. It’s a cool moment for him. … You wish you could have a camera at that point, ‘cause it’s priceless.”
Capitals forward Troy Brouwer chuckled when being asked about the expression of joy on Orlov’s face after the game.
“I think everyone’s that excited [about their first NHL goal], to be honest with you,” Brouwer said. “It’s such a huge accomplishment. We’re very proud of him.”
Chimera reflected on that first-goal reaction: “When you get your first, a lot of emotions go through your head, a lot of time spent getting there, so it’s a fun moment when you get it.”
Chimera also brought up, unsolicited, how hard Orlov had been working—a compliment in and of itself for the rookie.
It may be only one goal in a 82 (plus?) game season, but it took 20 years of hard work to make it happen. Hopefully more are on the way for the young defenseman.
Meanwhile, on the flip side of the game, team captain Alex Ovechkin had a hit that’s too good not to share on the Carolina Hurricanes’ Tuomo Ruutu, who could only be described as being at the wrong place at the wrong time on this one. Pass the Tylenol, please.