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First goal gives Tkachuk cause for celebration

Matthew Tkachuk became the second youngest player to score for the Flames in Tuesday's win over Buffalo

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers /

CALGARY, AB -- The snipe was all instinct.

So too was the celly.

Streaking down the wing, 18-year-old Calgary Flames rookie Matthew Tkachuk snapped a short-side score from the left circle by Buffalo Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner at 4:52 of the third period.

"I was just really excited," Tkachuk said.

It was his first NHL goal.

And first big-league fist-pump. 

"Pretty good. Pretty good," critiqued veteran forward Troy Brouwer.

"Although these kids … I was joking about it in pre-season … they all break off from the group to go celebrate by themselves nowadays. 

"With his first goal it's understandable.

"Anybody that wants to make an impact … and I know he's working hard to stay here, goals help.

"To have that little pressure off his back is nice to see for him. I've been there where, I'm not going to say the first one, but you're not scoring the way you want. It's always good to have that one."

Weight off, indeed. 

"Definitely," said Tkachuk, the No. 6 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. "Now I can just focus on playing my game. I've got that weight off my shoulders.

"It's good."

Video: BUF@CGY: Tkachuk ties game with first NHL goal

At 18 years, 213 days, Tkachuk's goal was the second youngest ever from a Flames player.

Only Dan Quinn, at 18 years, 139 days in 1983, was younger when he found the back of the net for Calgary, according to Sportsnet.

It didn't prompt an explosion of texts and tweets last night, though.

Those were mostly saved for the morning.

"My phone was blowing up a little bit after the game," said Tkachuk, who was born in Arizona but grew up in St. Louis.

"I got a lot more this morning. 

"It was pretty late back home. I got a lot of texts this morning when I woke up. It's good to hear that people saw it and people watched it and care about it."

His teammates certainly did.

Tkachuk's goal tied the game 3-3 and forced overtime, where centre Sean Monahan netted the winner at 2:26 on a nifty setup from Johnny Gaudreau to help the Flames to their first win of the 2016-17 season.

Giving the whole team reason to celebrate. 

"It was a big goal," Flames captain Mark Giordano said. "It was a huge goal to get us tied. 

"That celly … you could see the excitement. I think you saw even more and more confidence as the game went on there after he scored that. He was playing with a lot of grit and a lot of confidence.

"It's nice to see him get that one."

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