Dennis Rasmussen recorded a team-low 8 minutes and 33 seconds of ice time during his NHL debut in a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, but he only needed his third shift to make an impact.
At the 10:45 mark of the first period, Andrew Shaw directed a shot on net, where Rasmussen planted himself in an effort to screen Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne. Not only did he obstruct Rinne's view, but the shot was deflected by the 25-year-old rookie, who celebrated his first NHL goal (on his first shot) like anybody would.
"I yelled as loud as I could," Rasmussen said.
He had 21,432 fans at the United Center that joined him.
It's not that Rasmussen scored in his debut that may have mattered most to the Blackhawks; it's how he did it. A tip-in while battling for position in front of the net, something coach Joel Quenneville has stressed his team should do more of and an area the Blackhawks additionally worked on in practice Monday.
"That's how you score in our league," Quenneville said of Rasmussen's unorthodox goal. "Pretty goals are hard to come by. Traffic, turn the puck over, get it back to the point, second opportunity or screen, tip, deflection and go off that. Lines like that, that’s the recipe for success. Bring energy, get on the body, turn pucks over and scoring a big goal like that certainly helps us in a lot of ways."
Rasmussen took a cross-check to the back after scoring the goal, but that's the price you pay when you go to the front of the net and it paid off this time.
Is that the type of goal he envisioned for the first of his career?
"I think I visualized a couple things," Rasmussen said. "This game I just tried to play a simple game and try to get into it right away and to get the goal, that's of course, I'm really happy about it.
“I felt good right away and the guys really helped me to feel on the team and to feel comfortable and talked to me a lot, especially (Bryan) Bickell and (Andrew) Shaw, so I really felt comfortable, even from the start, and after a goal of course the nerves got away a little bit too."
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Rasmussen became the second Blackhawks player this season to register a goal in his NHL debut, with Artemi Panarin being the first on opening night.
A goal on his first shot in his first career game is something Rasmussen will certainly never forget. But to cap off a memorable day, his parents and brother were in attendance for it after flying in from Sweden.
"It's the biggest day of my life so far," Rasmussen said. "It's easy to say that."