To celebrate 25 years of Blackhawks hockey at the United Center, Blackhawks.com looks back on the top 25 moments with '25 in 25'
It didn't take Jonathan Toews long to show that he was going to be a special player in the NHL.
After missing the first two games of the 2007-08 season while recovering from a broken finger, the 19-year-old Toews took the United Center ice for his NHL debut Oct. 10, 2007 against the Sharks. The Blackhawks' top pick (third overall) in the 2006 NHL Draft wasted little time in making an impact.
With the game scoreless in the opening period, Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook found a streaking Toews and sent a pass to the future captain a stride outside of the offensive zone. Toews did the rest, out-muscling Sharks defenseman Matt Carle for the puck and breaking in alone on veteran goaltender Evgeni Nabokov before burying a wrist shot into the upper-right-hand corner of the net.
It was Toews' first career goal on his first shot in his first NHL game.
"I just remember feeling lucky before the game, feeling like if I got a chance I'd just be able to close my eyes and shoot and let it happen," Toews said. "Sure enough, 'Seabs' gave me that suicide pass up the middle there and I found a way to handle it and get around the defenseman and put it away for my first one."
Toews circled behind the net and pumped his fist one time before skating into the arms of Seabrook and Patrick Kane to begin a low-key celebration.
"I didn't really celebrate - I didn't go crazy like maybe I should have and just kind of soak it in a little bit more," Toews said. "I definitely acted like it was all business but it felt good to get that first one, for sure."
The goal proved to be the Blackhawks' only score of the game as they fell to the Sharks 2-1 before a crowd of 10,122. Toews used the momentum of scoring in his debut to record five goals in his first 10 games and finish the season with 24.
"Sometimes if it takes you a while to score you can start second-guessing yourself a little bit so I'm glad that first one went in," said Toews, who finished third in the voting for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie (Kane was first). "It was a pretty good feeling."