RALEIGH -- First NHL game. First shift. First shot. First goal. That was Daniel Carr’s night in a nutshell on Saturday.
Almost a year to the date after teammate Sven Andrighetto also found the back of the net in his NHL debut on December 6, 2014, Carr became just the seventh Habs player to achieve the feat since the 1999-2000 season.
And while like Andrighetto, the 24-year-old Albertan also saw his milestone night spoiled by a loss, head coach Michel Therrien was still pleased with the Sherwood Park native’s play.
“He should be happy with his performance and his goal,” underlined the Canadiens bench boss who utilized Carr over 8:21 of ice time alongside Christian Thomas and Brian Flynn in his NHL debut. “His line played well tonight.”
After all, repeating a feat once achieved by former NHL legend Mario Lemieux is not bad at all for an undrafted forward who was signed by the Habs as a free agent during the 2014 offseason.
“Any time your name is mentioned in the same sentence as his, whether it’s deserved or not, is an honor,” admitted Carr, who began the first quarter of the season in St. John’s, racking up 17 points over 21 games with the IceCaps before being called up just under a week ago on November 29. “It’s an honor, but a lot of credit on that play needs to go to CT and Flynner. They kept the puck moving and I just reaped the rewards of their play.”
Indeed, Carr finished the night a plus-1 with three shots on goal and a takeaway, in addition to absorbing some Carolina rubber with one blocked shot.
“I thought our line did a good job tonight of getting pucks in. and playing in their end a lot,” added the former Union College product.
Having been in similar shoes last December, Andrighetto couldn’t help but share his take on Carr’s bittersweet night.
“I was really happy for him. A first goal in a first game is something I was lucky enough to experience, and it’s certainly a day I’ll never forget,” recalled the 22-year-old Swiss forward. “December 6. I remember the date, time, and place, and I’m sure he will too, for the rest of his life. It was great to see.”
In fact, Andrighetto could have been the proudest Hab in the building if Carr didn’t already have some very special guests in attendance.
“It was awesome [to have my family watching]. They’ve been there for everything,” continued the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four semifinalist, whose parents James and Marj, and brother David were in Raleigh for the occasion. “They were the ones up at 6:00 a.m. driving me to the rink. My dad was the one up at 5:00 a.m. flooding our backyard [for me to skate on]. For them to be here with my brother tonight is a huge honor.”
Steven Nechay is a writer for canadiens.com
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