A look at Penguins First NHL Goals

A look at Penguins First NHL Goals

Oskar Sundqvist is the fifth Pittsburgh Penguins’ rookie to score his first NHL goal this season.

Sundqvist’s first goal happened today as he scored an unassisted, short-handed goal against the New York Islander’s Jean-Francois Berube.

The Penguins have had at least one player score their first NHL goal in every season since they entered the league in 1967.

Penguins rookie winger Daniel Sprong scored his first NHL goal against the Ottawa Senators this season on Oct. 15, 2015. The second Pens’ player this season to notch his career first was Conor Sheary, on Dec. 18, when he beat Boston Bruins’ goaltender Tuukka Rask.

The consecutive-season streak was almost in jeopardy in the 1991-92 campaign.  As the Penguins were en route to winning their second-consecutive Stanley Cup championship, emergency call-up Mike Needham scored on May 9, 1992 in Game 4 of the Patrick Division Finals.  Needham beat Rangers goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck. Four days later, on May 13, Pens rookie Shawn McEachern scored an unassisted goal for his milestone goal.  McEachern’s goal was the first time Pens’ announcer Mike Lange used the expression: “He’s smiling like a butcher’s dog!”

Speaking of unassisted goals, of the 185 players to score their first NHL goal with Pittsburgh, a mere 16 of them were solo scoring acts.  Jean Pronovost (10/30/68) was the first Penguins player to score unassisted and Ben Lovejoy (12/22/10) was the last.

Not all of the first goal scorers were rookies.

When the NHL doubled in size in 1967-68, it benefited journeyman defenseman Noel Price.  Price made his debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1957-58. He would have to wait 10 more seasons to score his first NHL goal against Boston Bruins’ goalie Eddie Johnston on Nov. 22, 1967.

Pens defenseman Alain Nasreddine scored his first NHL goal halfway through the 2006-07, nine seasons removed from his NHL debut with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1998-99.  His first goal came in his hometown of Montreal on Dec. 16, 2006, and was set up by Sidney Crosby and Mark Recchi. It was the only NHL goal of Nasreddine’s 74-game career.

There are Penguins players who didn’t have to wait as long as Price or Nasreddine.  15 Penguins players pulled off the feat of scoring in their NHL debut.  Four of those players did so on their first shift.

The NHL career of Mario Lemieux is widely associated with “First game, first shift, first goal.”  And it’s true.  On his first shift Lemieux did it all by himself. He collected a loose puck in his own zone and outmaneuvered Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque before beating goalie Pete Peeters just 2:59 into the game.  As remarkable as it sounds, it wasn’t the fastest goal from the start of a career in Penguins history.  That distinction belongs to Rick Kessell.  Kessel did it in 2:19, 40 seconds faster than Lemieux, when he was called up from the Baltimore Clippers near the end of the 69-70 season.  Luca Caputi also did it faster than Lemieux, scoring his marker against Montreal’s Carey Price just 2:30 into his first game.  Kevin Stevens is the only other Pens player to score on his first NHL shift when he beat Minnesota North Stars goaltender Don Beaupre at 4:29 on March 1, 1988.

Faithful followers of the Penguins have witnessed goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury make several rink-length attempts at bagging an empty net goal, but two other Pittsburgh netminders have been involved in a teammate’s first NHL goal.  On Feb. 25, 1989 Tom Barrasso got the second assist on Dave McLlwain’s first NHL goal and in Johan Hedberg picked up an assist on Milan Kraft’s first goal on Oct. 6, 2001.

As for the opposition goaltenders’ connections with Penguins first NHL goals, New Jersey Devils’ Martin Brodeur was between the pipes for eight of them.  Minnesota North Stars’ Ken Broderick surrendered two first NHL goals in one game when Tracy Pratt and Michel Briere scored on Nov. 1, 1969. Mark Kachowski and Rob Brown also scored their primary goals in the same game on Oct. 21, 1987 against New Jersey’s Alain Chevrier.  Finally,  Anaheim’s Steve Shields allowed two goals (Milan Kraft and Dan Lacouture) in one game on Oct. 6, 2001.

Here’s a list of Pittsburgh Penguins First NHL goals:

First NHL Goals

Date Player Opponent Assists Goaltender / Notes
10/21/1967 Gene Ubriaco Chicago Blackhawks Fonteyne, McCreary Denis Dejordy
11/1/1967 Keith McCreary Minnesota North Stars Fonteyne Gary Bauman; Six years into career.
11/9/1967 Bill Speer Detroit Red Wings Ubriaco, Schinkel Marv Edwards
11/22/1967 Noel Price Boston Bruins Boivin, Dillabough Ed Johnston; eight seasons into career.
12/9/1967 George Konik Minnesota North Stars Schinkel, Stratton Gary Bauman
2/1/1968 Bob Rivard St. Louis Blues Fonteyne, McDonald Glen Hall
10/23/1968 Dunc McCallum Chicago Blackhawks Pronovost, Boyer Denis Dejordy
10/30/1968 Jean Pronovost New York Rangers unassisted Ed Giacomin
3/25/1969 Ron Snell Minnesota North Stars unassisted Fern Rivard; NHL debut 37:55 into game.
3/26/1969 Doug Barrie Los Angeles Kings Burns, Pronovost Wayne Rutledge, second game in a row with a first goal.
3/29/1969 Gary Swain Philadelphia Flyers Burns, Schinkel Bernie Parent; only goal with Pittsburgh. Third consecutive game with NHL first goal.
10/16/1969 Bryan Hextall Philadelphia Flyers Schinkel Doug Favell
10/18/1969 Nick Harburuk Boston Bruins Woytowich, Prentice Ed Johnston; second game with first goal.
11/1/1969 Tracy Pratt Minnesota North Stars Sather Ken Broderick; two first goals in one game
11/1/1969 Michel Briere Minnesota North Stars Schinkel, Woytowich Ken Broderick; two first goals in one game
12/17/1969 Bob Blackburn Montreal Canadiens Schinkel Rogie Vachon
3/21/1970 Rick Kessel Chicago Blackhawks Sather, Harbaruk Gerry Desjardins; NHL Debut, first shift: 2:19
10/28/1970 Greg Polis Los Angeles Kings Schinkel, Schock Denis Dejordy
11/7/1970 Rod Zaine Boston Bruins Watson, Fonteyne Gary Cheevers
2/13/1971 Yvon Labre Chicago Blackhawks Apps, Polis Gerry Desjardins
3/14/1971 John Stewart Montreal Canadiens Schinkel, McCallum Ken Dryden
10/9/1971 Darryl Edestrand Philadelphia Flyers Robert, Polis Doug Favell; first game with Pens
10/10/1971 Joe Noris Buffalo Sabres Hextall, Schinkel Roger Crozier; second consecutive game with first NHL goal
10/20/1971 Sheldon Kannegiesser Los Angeles Kings Hextall, Harbaruk Denis Dejordy
11/9/1971 Brian McKenzie St. Louis Blues Schinkel Peter McDuffe
1/23/1972 Dave Burrows Montreal Canadiens Leiter, Pronovost Ken Dryden
2/3/1972 Steve Cardwell St. Louis Blues Harbaruk, Schock Jacques Caron
10/14/1972 Jack Lynch California Golden Seals MacDonald, Apps Gilles Meloche
3/24/1973 Jean-Guy Legace Buffalo Sabres Pronovost, Polis Roger Crozier
10/20/1973 Bob McManama California Golden Seals Polis, Lynch Marv Edwards
11/10/1973 Ted Snell Atlanta Flames Burrows Phil Myre
12/7/1973 Ron LaLonde California Golden Seals Hextall Ted Tucker
12/23/1973 Wayne Bianchin Buffalo Sabres Snell, Schock Dave Dryden
1/12/1974 Bernie Lukowich Buffalo Sabres Schock, Beverly Dave Dryden
2/3/1974 Blaine Stoughton Boston Bruins Schock, Legace Ross Brooks
10/9/1974 Pierre Larouche Minnesota North Stars Arnason Caesar Maniago; NHL Debut 30:34
11/7/1974 Dennis Owchar Los Angeles Kings Burrows, Apps Rogie Vachon
12/19/1974 Mario Faubert Kansas City Scouts unassisted Peter McDuffe
10/15/1975 Harvey Bennett Toronto Maple Leafs Kelly, Stackhouse Doug Favell
10/6/1976 Blair Chapman Vancouver Canucks Bianchin, Anderson Caesar Maniago; NHL debut: 3:02
10/27/1976 Russ Anderson Buffalo Sabres Pronovost Gerry Desjardins
11/5/1976 Greg Malone Colorado Rockies Kelly, Chapman Michel Plasse
11/2/1977 Tom Cassidy Detroit Red Wings Owchar Ron Low
11/19/1977 Jacques Cossette New York Rangers Chapman, Pronovost Wayne Thomas
12/4/1977 Peter Lee Washington Capitals Malone, Schultz Jim Bedard
1/12/1978 Jim Hamilton Philadelphia Flyers Schultz, Kehoe Bernie Parent
10/21/1978 Rod Schutt Washington Capitals Mahovlich, Carlyle Bernie Wolfe
4/3/1979 Kim Davis St. Louis Blues Malone Ed Staniowski
10/14/1979 Paul Marshall Boston Bruins Lee, Anderson Gilles Gilbert
3/23/1980 Mark Johnson Winnipeg Jets Marshall Markus Mattson
11/15/1980 Mike Bullard Boston Bruins Hughes, Wolf Jim Craig
3/17/1981 Marc Chorney Vancouver Canucks Lee, Anderson Gary Bromley: NHL Debut: 30:05
10/20/1981 Doug Shedden Colorado Rockies Faubert Phil Myre
11/24/1981 Pat Graham Quebec Nordiques unassisted Bouchard
2/3/1982 Steve Gatzos Minnesota North Stars Stackhouse Gilles Meloche; NHL Debut: 51:53
3/31/1982 Kevin McClelland Washington Capitals Schutt, Chorney Al Jensen
10/16/1982 Tim Hrynewich New Jersey Devils Malone, Carlyle Chico Resch
10/31/1982 Dave Hannan New York Rangers Price Steve Weeks
11/10/1982 Rod Buskas Edmonton Oilers Price, Hannan Andy Moog
11/14/1982 Tony Feltrin Buffalo Sabres Hannan, Baxter Jacques Cloutier
1/28/1983 Randy Boyd Washington Capitals unassisted Pat Riggin
10/4/1983 Bob Errey St. Louis Blues Lamoureux, Bullard Rick Heinz, NHL Debut: 39:53
10/14/1983 Mitch Lameroux Washington Capitals McSorley, Saganiuk Pat Riggin, fifth nhl game
11/2/1983 Bob Gladney Winnipeg Jets Gatzos, Gardner Brian Hayward, only goal in NHL
12/17/1983 Tom O'Regan Los Angeles Kings Boutette, Kehoe Gary Laskowski
1/20/1984 Marty McSorely New York Rangers Boutette, Roulston Steve Weeks
3/1/1984 Norm Schmidt Washington Capitals unassisted Bob Mason
3/8/1984 Tom Thornbury Quebec Nordiques Bullard, Roulston Mario Gosselin
3/13/1984 Derek Lowe Vancouver Canucks Hyrnewich John Garrett
10/11/1984 Mario Lemieux Boston Bruins unassisted Pete Peters; NHL debut: 2:59
10/13/1984 Doug Bodger Montreal Canadiens Bullard, Mantha Steve Penney
10/24/1984 Roger Belanger New Jersey Devils Crowder, Mantha Chicho Resch
11/29/1984 Troy Loney Chicago Blackhawks McCarthy Murray Bannerman
12/12/1984 Todd Charlesworth New York Islanders Lemieux, Young Kelly Hrudey
1/19/1985 Joe McDonnell Chicago Blackhawks Lemieux, Shedden Murray Bannerman
1/21/1985 Arto Javanainen Winnipeg Jets Chabot, Young Mark Holden; back-to-back games with first NHL game
10/23/1985 Jim Johnson Toronto Maple Leafs unassisted Don Edwards
10/24/1985 Craig Simpson New Jersey Devils Mantha, Cunneyworth Bernhard
12/28/1985 Ville Siren New Jersey Devils Lemieux Billy Smith
1/8/1986 Chris Dalquist Los Angeles Kings Ruskowski Rollie Melanson
4/6/1986 Dwight Mathiansen New York Rangers Dugay, Lemieux Glen Hanlon
1/23/1987 Phil Bourque Vancouver Canucks Simpson Frank Caprice
2/14/1987 Lee Giffen Vancouver Canucks Lemieux, Ruskowski Richard Brodeur
2/19/1987 Mitch Wilson Philadelphia Flyers Errey Ron Hextall
10/13/1987 Brad Aitken Buffalo Sabres Kontos, Cunneyworth Tom Barrasso; second NHL game
10/21/1987 Mark Kachowski New Jersey Devils Kontos, Frawley Alain Chevrier
10/21/1987 Rob Brown New Jersey Devils Lemieux, Bodger Alain Chevrier; NHL debut: 27:02, Two first goals in one game
11/12/1987 Jock Callander Philadelphia Flyers unassisted Ron Hextall
12/29/1987 Wayne Van Dorp Boston Bruins McLlwain, Loney Reggie Lemelin
1/23/1988 Steve Gotaas Montreal Canadiens Loney, Kachowski Brian Hayward
3/1/1988 Kevin Stevens Minnesota North Stars Dahlquist, Quinn Don Beaupre; NHL debut, first shift: 4:29
3/19/1988 Zarley Zalapski Philadelphia Flyers Lemieux, Brown Ron Hextall
10/15/1988 John Cullen St. Louis Blues Lemieux, Coffey Vincent Riendeau
1/20/1989 Mark Recchi Winnipeg Jets Lemieux, Bourque Pokey Reddick
2/25/1989 Dave McLlwain New York Islanders Coffey, Barrasso Mark Fitzpatrick
10/7/1990 Jaromir Jagr New Jersey Devils Johnson, Stevens Chris Terreri
11/21/1990 Paul Stanton Philadelphia Flyers Recchi Pete Peters
3/12/1991 Jamie Leach Montreal Canadiens Stanton Patrick Roy
5/25/1991 Jim Paek Minnesota North Stars Lemieux Brian Heyward; Game 6 of Stanley Cup Final
5/9/1992 Mike Needham New York Rangers Loney, Callander Mike Richter; Playoffs
5/13/1992 Shawn McEachern New York Rangers unassisted John Vanbiesbrouck; playoffs
11/3/1992 Jeff Daniels New York Islanders McEachern Mark Fitzpatrick
2/10/1993 Martin Straka New York Rangers McEachern, Jagr Mike Richter
11/9/1993 Markus Naslund St. Louis Blues Doug Brown, McSorley Curtis Joseph
11/16/1993 Pat Neaton Philadelphia Flyers Stevens, Murphy Tommy Soderstrom; NHL Debut 57:27
1/7/1994 Ed Patterson Buffalo Sabres Trottier Domenic Hasek
4/15/1995 Chris Tamer Ottawa Senators Mullen, Murray Darrin Madeley
5/3/1995 Rusty Fitzgerald Florida Panthers Park, Mullen John Vanbiesbrouck
10/7/1995 Richard Park Toronto Maple Leafs unassisted Felix Potvin
10/28/1995 Ian Moran New Jersey Devils Patterson, Roche Martin Brodeur
11/1/1995 Francois Leroux Tampa Bay Lightning Lemieux, Naslund Jean-Claude Bergeron
11/14/1995 Dave Roche Dallas Stars Lemieux, Mironov Darcy Wakaluk
11/18/1995 Joe Dziedzik Washington Capitals Joseph, Jagr Jim Carey
3/1/1996 Chris Wells Edmonton Oilers Zubov, Patterson Curtis Joseph
3/24/1996 Alex Stojanov New York Rangers McLlwain Glen Healy; second game with Pens.
3/4/1997 Jeff Christian New Jersey Devils Hicks Mike Dunham
10/1/1997 Aleksey Morozov Los Angeles Kings Jagr, Francis Stephane Fiset; NHL Debut 7:20
10/28/1997 Peter Ferraro Calgary Flames Hicks Tyler Moss
11/20/1997 Toumos Gronman Ottawa Senators Olausson, Francis Damian Rhodes
12/10/1997 Robert Dome Anaheim Ducks Straka Mikhail Shtalenkov
11/3/1998 Maxim Galoniv Philadelphia Flyers Serowik, Hrdina John Vanbiesbrouck
11/5/1998 Jan Hrdina Ottawa Senators Dollas Damian Rhodes
2/5/1999 Martin Sonnenberg Florida Panthers Kovalev, Jagr Kirk McLean
4/24/1999 Greg Andrusak New Jersey Devils Miller, Kovalev Martin Brodeur
11/13/1999 Andrew Ference Nashville Predators Jagr, Miller Tomas Vokoun
12/30/1999 Hans Jonsson New York Islanders Titov, Lang Roberto Luongo
10/14/2000 Roman Simicek New York Rangers Beranek, Barnaby Jason Labarbera
12/10/2000 Toby Petersen Detroit Red Wings Jagr, Simicek Chris Osgood
2/16/2001 Billy Tibbetts New Jersey Devils Jagr, Jonsson Martin Brodeur
10/6/2001 Milan Kraft Anaheim Ducks Kovalev, Hedberg Steve Shields; two first NHL goals in game
10/6/2001 Dan Lacouture Anaheim Ducks Hrdina, Rozsival Steve Shields; two first NHL goals in game
11/24/2001 Kris Beech Buffalo Sabres Rozsival, Tibbetts Marin Baron
12/29/2001 Tom Kostopoulous Ottawa Senators Primeau, Lacouture Patrick Lalime
12/26/2002 Michael Sivek New York Rangers Kovalev, Jonsson Mike Dunham
2/15/2003 Tomas Sourovy New Jersey Devils R. Robitaille, Moran Martin Brodeur; second nhl game
3/9/2003 Eric Meloche Ottawa Senators Straka, Fata Martin Prusek
3/12/2003 Guillaume Lefebvre Nashville Predators Johansson, Fata Tomas Vokoun; First game with Penguins
10/29/2003 Ryan Malone New York Islanders Eastwood Garth Snow; First native to score for Pittsburgh
10/30/2003 Konstantin Koltzov Chicago Blackhawks Straka, Lemieux Michael Leighton
11/12/2003 Dan Focht New York Rangers Straka, Koltsov Mike Dunham
12/13/2003 Matt Murley Columbus Blue Jackets Koltsov, Kraft Fred Brathwaite
1/24/2004 Brooks Orpik Colorado Avalanche Holzinger, Surovy Phillipe Sauve
1/27/2004 Josef Melichar Tampa Bay Lightning Koltsov, Morozov John Grahame
3/7/2004 Rob Scuderi New York Rangers Eastwood, Malone Jason Labarbera
3/16/2004 Matt Hussey Washington Capitals Pirjeta, Orpik Olaf Kolzig
10/8/2005 Sidney Crosby Boston Bruins Recchi, Palffy Hannu Toivonen
10/14/2005 Maxime Talbot Philadelphia Flyers unassisted Antero Nittymaki
11/3/2005 Erik Christensen New York Islanders Palffy, Whitnet Rick DiPietro
12/1/2005 Ryan Whitney New York Rangers Recchi, Murley Henrik Lundqvist
12/16/2005 Michel Ouellet Buffalo Sabres Recchi, Christensen Marty Biron
1/3/2006 Shane Endicott Montreal Canadiens Recchi Jose Theodore
1/6/2006 Colby Armstrong Atlanta Thrashers Surovy, Recchi Kari Lehtonen
3/26/2006 Noah Welch Montreal Canadiens Melichar, Crosby David Aebischer
10/12/2006 Kris Letang New York Rangers Crosby, Gonchar Henrik Lundqvist
10/12/2006 Jordan Staal New York Rangers unassisted Henrik Lundqvist; short-handed goal
10/18/2006 Evgeni Malkin New Jersey Whitney, Recchi Martin Brodeur; NHL Debut 38:38
11/6/2006 Chris Thorburn Anaheim Ducks Malkin, Crosby J.S. Giguere
12/16/2006 Alain Nasreddine Montreal Canadiens Crosby, Recchi Cristobal Huet; nine seasons into career
11/3/2007 Tyler Kennedy New York Islanders Roberts, Talbot Rick DiPietro
2/26/2008 Connor James New York Islanders Whitney Rick DiPietro
3/12/2008 Chris Minard Buffalo Sabres Staal, Stone Ryan Miller
10/5/2008 Alex Goligoski Ottawa Senators Crosby, Malkin Alex Auld; game played in Stockholm
1/1/2009 Dustin Jeffrey Boston Bruins Goligoski, Wallace Manny Fernandez
2/3/2009 Luca Caputi Montreal Canadiens Thomas, Scuderi Carey Price; NHL Debut, first shift 2:30
1/21/2010 Nick Johnson Washington Capitals Malkin, Fedotenko Jose Theodore; NHL Debut; 22:50
2/1/2010 Mark Letestu Buffalo Sabres Kennedy, Letang Ryan Miller
10/15/2010 Eric Tangradi New York lslanders Letestu, Engelland Rick DiPietro
11/12/2010 Deryk Engelland Tampa Bay Lightning Crosby, Kunitz Mike Smith
12/22/2010 Ben Lovejoy Florida Panthers unassisted Scott Clemmensen
2/16/2011 Joe Vitale Colorado Avalanche Sterling, Martin Peter Budaj
12/17/2011 Simon Despres Buffalo Sabres Kennedy, Williams Ryan Miller
2/2/2013 Robert Bortuzzo New Jersey Devils Crosby, Dupuis Martin Brodeur
2/24/2013 Beau Bennett Tampa Bay Lightning Crosby, Letang Mathieu Garon; game-winning goal
10/19/2013 Olli Maatta Vancouver Canucks Kunitz, Crosby Roberto Luongo
10/28/2013 Jayson Megna Carolina Hurricanes Crosby, Orpik Justin Peters
11/18/2013 Brian Gibbons Anaheim Ducks Malkin, Glass Vicktor Flasth
12/15/2014 Bryan Rust Tampa Bay Lightning Ebbett Evgeni Nabakov
12/15/2014 Brian Dumoulin Tampa Bay Lightning Downie, Spaling Evgeni Nabakov
12/20/2014 Derrick Pouliot Florida Panthers Downie, Spaling Roberto Luongo
1/21/2015 Zach Sill Chicago Blackhawks Ebbett, Ehrhoff Corey Crawford
10/15/2015 Daniel Sprong Ottawa Senators Cullen, Porter Craig Anderson
12/18/2015 Conor Sheary Boston Bruins Crosby Tuukka Rask
2/18/2016 Scott Wilson Detroit Red Wings Sheary, Pouliot Petr Mrazek, game-winning goal
2/20/2016 Tom Kuhnhackl Tampa Bay Lightning unassisted Ben Bishop, short-handed goal
4/2/2016 Oskar Sundqvist New York Islanders unassisted Jean-Francois Berube, short-handed goal
11/21/2016 Jake Guentzel New York Rangers Kessel, Daley Antti Raanta, 1:02 into game
12/23/2016 Chad Ruhwedel New Jersey Devils Kunitz, Malkin Cory Schneider
2/11/2017 Josh Archibald Arizona Coyotes Fehr, Kuhnhackl Mike Smith
3/17/2017 Carter Rowney New Jersey Devils Kuhnhackl, Sestito 15th game; game-winning goal

By |2016-04-02T13:55:55-04:00April 2nd, 2016|Pittsburgh Hockey History, Pittsburgh Penguins|0 Comments

About the Author:

James M. Kubus, editor of PittsburghHockey.net (in 1968 Pens' uniform)

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