NHL on NBCSN: Jamie Drysdale making good first impression with Ducks

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2020-21 NHL season continues with Wednesday’s matchup between the Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild. Ducks-Wild stream coverage begins at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

It took a while for Jamie Drysdale to realize he had just scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game.

Drysdale fired a shot during last Thursday’s win over Arizona and the puck hit off someone on front and went in behind Adin Hill. Did it hit off Alex Goligoski? Did Max Jones deflect it? The Ducks rookie didn’t know the second period goal was his until Kevin Shattenkirk broke the news to him during the third period.

“I had no idea to be honest,” Drysdale said after the overtime win. “I thought Jonesy got that for sure. I remember in the third period, I got back to the bench and Shatty was like, ‘Good job, kid. Attaboy.’ And I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, that was your goal.’ It was pretty cool to hear that. Definitely a special one.”

The goal was the first of what the Ducks hope are many coming from the young blue liner, who scored 16 times in 112 junior games. The 18-year-old Drysdale was the No. 6 overall pick in October’s entry draft and is another piece of a youth movement that is expected to turn the franchise’s fortunes around.

[PRE-GAME COVERAGE OF DUCKS-WILD BEGINS AT 5 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

That game against Arizona wasn’t just a momentous occasion for Drysdale. Fellow Ducks rookie Trevor Zegras scored his first NHL goal 2:29 later. Drysdale assisted on Zegras’ goal making him the third NHL defenseman ever to record multiple points in his debut at age 18 or younger. The other two defensemen? Ray Bourque and Petr Svoboda.

And how do you know you’re fitting in with a new group? You get the post-game prank business.

Only three games into his NHL career and Drysdale is already impressing his veteran teammates.

“Great, great impressions,” said Kevin Shattenkirk. “He passes pucks hard and on the tape. His skating ability is incredible. The rest of it, the speed of the game, will all come to him. You can see him figuring it out as he goes. I think his attention to detail in that aspect is great to see out of a young player because it’s something that is very important in this league, to make sure, especially as defensemen, that we’re putting pucks on tapes and allowing the transition. It makes everyone look faster.”

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Drysdale began the season in AHL San Diego, playing 14 games and scoring four times and recording 10 points. With the Ontario Hockey League still finalizing return to play plans, the defenseman’s stay in Anaheim may be longer than originally planned. Of course, if he continues playing well via his 18-plus minutes a night there won’t be questions about where he might continue playing.

“He came in like he had been there for a very long time,” Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins said after Drysdale’s debut. “He closed like we’ve seen him close in San Diego. He moved the puck fast and hard like we’ve seen. He got shots through. He was a very, very confident young man. A really, really good first showing at this level. 

“All the people at home should be very, very happy with that draft pick and the job that our scouts and management have put into that young man.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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    Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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    BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

    The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

    “That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

    Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

    “It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

    In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

    “It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

    In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

    “We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

    Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

    Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

    Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

    Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

    Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

    TAKE NOTE

    The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

    UP NEXT

    Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

    Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

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    NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

    Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

    The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

    Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

    “We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

    Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

    The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

    The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

    Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

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    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

    Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

    The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

    Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.

    Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

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    TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

    Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

    Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

    Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

    Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.