Matt Irwin had himself a day.
Washington’s 34-year-old defenseman played in just his 16th game with the Capitals in Tuesday night’s 9-2 demolition over the Philadelphia Flyers. In the process, the veteran scored his first goal with Washington on a slap shot from the blue line to put the home side up 6-1. He had rung the post on a shot earlier in the game but to no avail. This time, it pierced mesh.
Irwin’s first tally with the Capitals was the second-biggest thing that happened to him over the course of the last 24 hours, though. He announced via Instagram that his wife Chantel gave birth to a baby daughter the night prior. Lennon Elizabeth Irwin was born on April 11, 2022 at 10:30 p.m., less than a full day before her father lit up the red light for the Capitals.
‘Baby and Mom are doing great!!’ the post concluded.
Irwin’s last NHL goal came 1,223 days before Tuesday’s matchup. Interestingly enough, that goal was scored while he was a member of the Nashville Predators, coached by none other than Peter Laviolette. Washington’s head coach took note of Irwin’s contributions on The Sports Junkies on 106.7 the Fan on Wednesday.
“He hadn’t been in the lineup for a little bit, he came in and played such a strong game for us last night,” Laviolette said. “He comes every day to work, he’s an unbelievable teammate, he works as hard as he can every day in practice, does all the right things to be a pro. He’s really, really liked by his teammates and respected by his teammates for what he does on a daily basis.”
Irwin ended up with a stellar 18:17 ice time in Washington’s victory, even more than his fellow defenseman John Carlson. Aside from his goal, Irwin tallied three total shots on net and added one hit.
He played a role in one of his teammates’ big nights as well. Irwin supplied the secondary assist on Garnet Hathaway’s 12th goal on the season, which became a career-high for the 30-year-old right-winger.
“To kinda add to the story, he had a baby, his wife had a baby less than 24 hours prior,” Laviolette said of Irwin. “He was in the hospital and he was dealing with that and so he has a monster game like that. I think everybody was just really happy for him and the fact that he got in there and played as well as he did and scored a goal—it was a good 24-hour run for him.”
Chance would have it that Irwin wasn’t the only Capital who had a baby within a day of Washington’s victory over Philly. Defenseman Nick Jensen and his wife Jenner (who have known each other since they were five years old), welcomed Leon Theodore Jensen into the world on April 11 as well. As with the Irwin family, both mother and baby Jensen are doing well, per the Capitals’ tweet.
“It’s a pretty big 24 to 30 hours,” Laviolette said postgame on Tuesday night. “Two new babies in the family, so everybody’s doing great. That’s awesome.”