You always remember your first.
Even if it came against Arizona on a Monday night.
A lot of times, players’ first goals come in garbage time. For Andy Andreoff, though, his first NHL tally lifted the hopes of an organization that was battling to acquire a playoff berth for the sixth consecutive season.
It was one of the Kings’ many games tabbed as ‘must-wins’ as they fought for playoff positioning during the final stages of their 2014-‘15 campaign. Coming into the evening of March 16, the Kings were on the outside of the playoffs looking in.
With just 14 games remaining on their regular season slate, the Kings found themselves two points behind the Calgary Flames for the Pacific Division's third and final playoff spot; one point behind the Winnipeg Jets for the Western Conference's final wild-card position.
Every game was huge, every player was important.
Andy Andreoff, who was playing in his 15th career NHL game, and just his third in the Kings’ previous 18 games, snuck home the contest’s lone goal to give the Kings a much-needed two points and 1-0 victory. Andreoff's marker broke a scoreless tie with just over a minute left to play in the second period.
Jordan Nolan, after chipping the puck into Arizona’s zone, beat defenseman John Moore low along the side boards, spun off with the puck, transformed quickly to his forehand to feed Andreoff a perfect back-door pass.
Andreoff, with his momentum shifting backward, didn’t catch all of the puck in his back-footed clutch and one-time effort; although that may have been what fooled the expectations of Mike Smith, who overplayed Andreoff’s shot, getting beat under the pads through the five-hole.
ANDY'S ON BOARD
It was a big goal from the fourth-line, which consisted of Kyle Clifford
and Jordan Nolan
– who had come up through the Kings’ AHL ranks in Manchester similarly to Andreoff, assisting the rookie on his game-winning tally.
Kings' commentator Jim Fox had a few words:
“I talked to John Stevens about [Andreoff]. And he says they know about his skill set, it’s not going to be off the charts. But, they know about his identity, and that’s hard work.”
Andreoff also buried the final goal of the Kings’ 2014-’15 season on April 11, netting his 2nd career NHL goal with 43.5 seconds left to play after receiving a pass from Tyler Toffoli on a two-on-one sequence with the San Jose Sharks’ net empty.
He finished his rookie season with three points (2G, 1A) in 18 games played, firing off 14 shots on goal in 154 shifts, averaging 8:34 minutes of ice-time each game. Andreoff also acquired 18 penalty minutes, ten of those for a pair of fighting majors.
The rookie dropped the gloves with Edmonton’s Matt Hendricks in his first-career NHL game.
On his first NHL shift.
Everything good comes with an ounce or two of luck. The Kings donned a special set of uniforms to benefit the Kings Care Foundation for the forthcoming St. Patrick’s Day Holiday during warm-ups the evening Andreoff netted his first NHL goal.
Are you superstitious?