GLENDALE -- Brett MacLean
made his NHL debut on Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings at Jobing.com Arena. MacLean marked the occasion by scoring his first NHL goal on his first NHL shot at 15:34 of the first period.
"It was kind of a broken play," MacLean said. "We usually have a set break out and it didn’t really work out. I was just kind of going wide and I just tried to drive to the net… I just had my stick on the ice and he (Scottie Upshall) made a perfect pass.”
MacLean, 22, is the first NHL player to score in his debut since Kyle Palmieri of Anaheim on Nov. 3 against Tampa Bay, and he's the first Coyotes player to score his first NHL goal in his first NHL game since Daniel Winnik did it on Oct. 4, 2007.
"It’s a great feeling to get that off your back early,” said MacLean, who was recalled on Wednesday to help fill in for center Martin Hanzal
, who did not play because of a minor upper-body injury he suffered in Tuesday's game.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan
was pleased to see MacLean score right away.
“We were teasing him before the game that some guys do it (score) in their first game," Doan said. "He’s a natural goal scorer and he has done it everywhere he’s been. For him to come in and do that obviously is huge.”
Wednesday was a long day for MacLean, who spent much of the morning traveling from the team's top affiliate in San Antonio to Phoenix, with a stop in Dallas. MacLean arrived in Phoenix after the morning skate, just a few hours before the game started.
"I haven't really had any time to get nervous," MacLean said before the game. "It's been a long day. I'm just trying to focus on getting ready for the game."
The Coyotes selected MacLean with the 32nd overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Since then he's scored 65 goals in two-plus seasons in the American Hockey League. He's hoping his stay in the NHL will be a long one.
"Everybody’s dream is to play in the NHL and the longer you wait you get a little more frustrated," MacLean said. "But I think my main goal is to try and get better everyday and eventually prove that I belong up here and at least deserve a shot."