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Grimaldi scores with stick named for late grandpa on anniversary of death

Predators forward had first playoff goal in Game 2 of series against Dallas

by Pat Pickens @Pat_Pickens / NHL.com Staff Writer

Rocco Grimaldi wasn't the one who scored his first Stanley Cup Playoff goal. "Frankie" did.

The Nashville Predators forward played Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round with a stick named in honor of his late grandfather. And of course he scored his team's first goal during a 2-1 overtime win.

Later, Grimaldi and Frankie were on the ice for Craig Smith's winner. Later, his father alerted him to the fact that it was the anniversary of Papa Frank's death.

Tweet from @RGrimaldi23: Big win! My Papa Frank died 3 years ago yesterday. Crazy thing is that last night I named my stick ���Frankie��� by chance. Getting the win and scoring with Frankie really takes on a whole new meaning remembering 3 years ago. I���m sure he enjoyed the game in heaven! I love you Papa! pic.twitter.com/1pMkqap4Pa

"I randomly named [the stick] Frankie," Grimaldi said Monday. "My dad after the game asked my stick's name. I told him 'Frankie,' and he said 'You know what day it is?' I saw the date and said 'this is the day grandpa died.'"

Saturday was also Grimaldi's first playoff game in almost three years. He last played in the postseason when he dressed as a member of the Florida Panthers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the New York Islanders on April 15, 2016.

"I remember I got the news the day before my first playoff game," Grimaldi said. "So I remember how tough that was, and I had to put that aside to play that game."

Grimaldi was a healthy scratch in Game 1 but tied the score with his goal at 3:56 of the second period. He also was on the ice for Craig Smith's game-winning goal that knotted the best-of-7 series at 1.

"It's really random how things came together and special to score with [Frank's] name on my stick," Grimaldi said. "It really was a special moment for me and my family."

Grimaldi's grandfather had been a tailor in Chicago, who used to work on suits for the Chicago Blackhawks players. The Blackhawks used to offer him tickets, but he never accepted them because he didn't want the players to think they were indebted to him.

"That's the kind of guy he was," Grimaldi said. "He wanted to do his job, stay out of the limelight and just be a great dad, be a great grandfather and that's what he was."

NHL.com staff writer Tracey Myers contributed to this report.

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