The Ottawa Senators have been on a roll recently. Even after blowing a two-goal lead against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night to lose 4-2, the Senators are sneaking up in the standings. They are at .500 again.
Now, the question is whether they can rise above that mark. Or will the team slide backward?
Two Good Things Happened on Sunday for the Senators
For the Senators, two things happened on Sunday. First, the team beat a red-hot Buffalo Sabres team by a score of 3-1. Second, a 27-year-old rookie from Trail, British Columbia, scored his first NHL goal.
First, a bit about the Senators. The team has won three of its last four games after the Christmas break. And these were good teams – the Boston Bruins, the Washington Capitals, and the Sabres. With those wins, the Senators finished the month of December with a record of 8-4-2. Tonight, the Senators get a chance to break the .500 barrier at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
For One Young (Old for a) Rookie, a Dream Come True
Now a bit about Jacob (Jake) Lucchini. He’s been in the Senators’ organization for a couple of seasons now. The word was that, during the 2020-21 season, Lucchini was traded from AHL Laval to Belleville for “future considerations.” According to Sportsnet, the story goes that those future considerations were $1.
Lucchini has played more than 200 games in the minors. After his four-year career at Michigan
Tech, Lucchini signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization in March 2019 and went to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. From there he was traded in February 2020 from the Penguins organization (with Joseph Blandisi) to the Montreal Canadiens organization for Philip Varone and Riley Barber.
He’s now played five games with the Senators and has one point – a goal that he scored against the Sabres and former long-time Senators’ goalie Craig Anderson.
After the Game Lucchini Was Nervous But Thrilled
In the postgame media conversation, Lucchini admitted that “I was pretty nervous. Knowing that you get a chance to score your first NHL goal, you get pretty excited. My eyes opened up pretty big.”
He added that “Obviously it’s something I’ve dreamed about my whole life.”
The Senators’ Crowd Joined in the Celebration
After Lucchini scored and the Senators’ announcer reported over the PA that it was his first NHL goal, the “crowd erupted in applause.”
Lucchini also shared the special moment with his mother, Sandy. Mom Lucchini had flown from British Columbia to Detroit for Saturday’s game. She then followed her son to Ottawa, so she was in town.
In addition, his teammates were happy for him. That was made clear when his teammates raced to swarm him after the goal. Senators’ captain Brady Tkachuk shared that ”It was unreal. It’s always special, not only for him (Lucchini) but for everybody to be a part of a first NHL goal and see a dream come true. It’s amazing.”
Some Interesting Facts about Lucchini’s First Goal
Lucchini’s power-play goal was the game-winner. He came into Sunday’s game contest averaging about 10 TOI. But he played 13:39 TOI on Sunday, including just over half a minute (:35 exactly) with the man advantage. That was all he needed.
The 27-year-old Lucchini’s goal stopped the Sabres’ six-game winning streak. In a final word, Lucchini noted that “You just dream about it and it was so special and, obviously, the crowd with so many people. It was such an exciting game, so to have a positive impact like that was really, you know, important for me and good for our team.”
Congratulations to Lucchini. We wish you many more goals before you retire from your NHL career.
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