|Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov congratulates rookie forward Devin Setoguchi on his NHL debut and his first two career NHL goals. (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam) |
Rookie forward Devin Setoguchi became the first player in San Jose Sharks franchise history to tally two goals in his NHL debut as the Sharks defeated the Stars, 4-2, on Monday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Setoguchi, 20, became just the 12th Sharks player to score a goal in his NHL debut and the first to score twice. Current teammates Joe Pavelski
(Nov. 22, 2006 vs Los Angeles), Matt Carle (March 25, 2006 at Minnesota) and Milan Michalek (Oct. 9, 2003 at Edmonton) are the only other Sharks on the current roster who have accomplished that feat.
“I told Joe (Thornton) on the bench, ‘I’m just going to crash the net and bang away,’ and that’s what we did,” Setoguchi said following Monday’s win. “You don’t get two better passes than that. Both plays were perfect.”
Click the links to watch Setoguchi's goals (FIRST GOAL
, SECOND GOAL
Setoguchi began the game skating on a line with Patrick Rissmiller and Torrey Mitchell
, but after showing a nose for the net and a step in his stride through the first two and a half periods, he was paired up with the former League MVP, Joe Thornton
, midway through the third.
“I was excited to get the chance to play with the best player in the League,” Setoguchi said. “I just wanted to play as hard and as smart as I could. The way he reads the defenders and the way he reads the ice, I was just trying to get open for him. I couldn’t have pictured a better way to get my first and my second NHL goals.”
Setoguchi’s journey to the NHL has been anything but direct, but the talented pivot certainly has not been deterred just because he’s taken the road less traveled. In 2006-07, Setoguchi turned heads at Sharks Training Camp as a talented 19-year-old with tremendous potential. However, a nagging leg injury kept Setoguchi out of most of the exhibition season and he was eventually returned to his junior team, the Prince George Cougars.
The Taber, Alberta native followed an impressive 2006-07 Training Camp with an equally impressive 2007-08 Training Camp and exhibition season. Setoguchi netted five power play goals in the NHL’s preseason play, best in the League, and earned a spot on Coach Ron Wilson’s roster. Nevertheless, an ankle injury suffered in one of the final Sharks exhibition games again put Setoguchi’s NHL debut on hold.
He was assigned to the Worcester Sharks, San Jose’s top development affiliate in the American Hockey League, where he conditioned and rehabilitated his ankle. Now just over three weeks into the season, Setoguchi has once again landed on an NHL roster and this time he intends to stay.
“It’s back to the drawing board for me,” he said moments after scoring his first two NHL goals. “It’s a great way to start, but it’s one just one game. If I want to stay here, I need to keep working hard and competing.”
Setoguchi and the Sharks return to the ice on Friday night for a battle against the Pacific Division and intrastate rival Los Angeles Kings. Limited tickets are still available. Game is set for a 7:30 PM (Pacific) start and will be broadcast on FSN+, KFOX 98.5 FM, Sharks Radio Network Affiliates and SJSHARKS.com