SUNRISE, Fla. -- The opportunity was simply too good for Logan Shaw to pass up.
The Florida Panthers rookie scored his first NHL goal at 7:49 of the first period in a 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators at the BB&T Center on Tuesday night, choosing to fire a blistering snapshot past goaltender Craig Anderson rather than feed teammate Derek MacKenzie on a two-on-one break.
“I looked over and saw (MacKenzie) driving to the net, but I like taking that shot,” Shaw said confidently.
A third-round draft pick, 76th overall, in the 2011 NHL Draft, the Glace Bay, N.S., native needed only seven games to find the back of the net for the first time as a member of the Panthers.
“It was a great goal,” head coach Gerard Gallant said. “He did things right. There were a couple chips and a great pass. He went down the wing and blasted it high. It’s great to see a kid get his first goal.”
After making his NHL debut against the Boston Bruins on Oct. 30, Shaw was soon reassigned to Florida’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Portland Pirates, before being recalled once again on Nov. 25.
“When I got sent down, I was just going down to work hard,” said Shaw, who has notched seven goals and eight points in 13 games for Portland this season. “I wasn’t going to pout about it. I just went down there to keep improving my game. Now, I’m back here.”
Making life easier for Shaw during his second stint with the Panthers will be the presence of his two veteran linemates, MacKenzie and Jussi Jokinen, who have taken the 23-year-old forward under their wing as he works to gain a foothold in the lineup.
“I love playing with those guys,” said Shaw, whose goal was assisted by both MacKenzie and Jokinen. “They’re veterans and they know what they’re doing out there. They’re helping me and teaching me every shift. They’re definitely making me better that’s for sure.”
As for what he’ll do with the ceremonial first-goal puck, which was being prepared for him by the team’s equipment staff after the game, Shaw already has a few ideas of where it might end up.
“I’m not too sure what I’ll do with it, but I’ll probably give it to my parents,” said Shaw, who noted that his parents make sure to watch all of his games on television. “I have a little jersey case from when I was drafted, so maybe I’ll throw it in there.”