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Lightning journal: Lightning players share first-goal memories

Lightning right wing Mathieu Joseph (7) manages the puck in the neutral zone during a preseason game against the Hurricanes. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times ]
Lightning right wing Mathieu Joseph (7) manages the puck in the neutral zone during a preseason game against the Hurricanes. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Nov. 7, 2018|Updated Nov. 7, 2018

TAMPA — Finally, after playing 13 games and waiting 29 days, Mathieu Joseph scored his first NHL goal in his 14th game on Sunday.

His goal tied the game vs. Ottawa at 2-2 early in the third period. The Lightning went on to win 4-3 in overtime.

Joseph had to wait 29 days since the start of his rookie season, but that does not include all of the practices, drives to the rink and hours spent skating in which Joseph had to go through to reach his first goal in the world's top hockey league.

It's why that puck will soon find a spot in a frame, Joseph said Tuesday.

Joseph said he didn't experience relief as much as he was just happy to contribute offensively in the form of a goal finally. It's typically a special moment for most players, but many have different memories and different views of what that first NHL goal meant to them.

After morning skate on Tuesday ahead of the Lightning's matchup vs. the Edmonton Oilers, we asked several Lightning players what they remembered most about their first goal and the day surrounding it.

Forward Nikita Kucherov (Nov. 25, 2013 vs. New York Rangers): "Playing my first NHL game was obviously special. That was the day that they honored Martin St. Louis with his 1000th game. It was a huge ceremony before the game. That was special too for me, being able to play my first game and he was already playing 1000 games in the league. Being able to score first shift was definitely huge for me and my confidence."

Forward Alex Killorn (Feb. 16, 2013, at Florida): "It wasn't even a great goal. It was a shot from outside the circle. Really lucky that it went in. I was on a line with (Vinny) Lecavalier I think at that point. He was near the front of the net. I wasn't sure if it hit him or something. I asked him, he said, 'No you got it.' That's what I remember from my first goal."

Forward Anthony Cirelli (March 1, 2017 at Dallas): "Just all the support I got. The messages saying congrats. In the moment, I don't really remember much. I just remember the puck going in the net and just kind of celebrating. Really happy and excited."

Defenseman Ryan McDonagh (April 9, 2011 vs. New Jersey): "Ended up being the game-winner. And it only took me 40 games to get there."

Defenseman Braydon Coburn (March 4, 2007 at Pittsburgh): "It was in Pittsburgh, the old igloo. It was one of those kind of shots just inside the blue line that ended up skipping once on the ice and bouncing and going into the net. It was a pretty lucky goal."

Forward Brayden Point (Nov. 5, 2016 vs. New Jersey): "Just the relief of it finally going in, knowing that you can score at this level."

Forward Yanni Gourde (March 11, 2017 vs. Florida): "It was a very, very emotional night for me. It's very special to score your first NHL goal. You don't know if you're going to score a second one."

"At that point, I didn't know if I was going to make it for a long time in the NHL or if that was going to be my only goal. Very fun."

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