McTavish scores in NHL debut as Ducks beat Jets 4-1
With a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night, Mason McTavish became the Ducks’ youngest player to score a goal in franchise history.
McTavish, who was selected third overall in this year’s NHL draught, scored on a loose puck 13:20 into the first period to put Anaheim up 2-0. Isac Lundestrom’s shot was stopped by Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, but McTavish recovered the rebound.
Officials first ruled no goal after the whistle blew, however, replay overturned the decision as to the culmination of a continuous play in which the whistle had no bearing on the outcome.
McTavish broke the previous franchise record of 18 years, 256 days set by Oleg Tverdovsky (18 years, 259 days) on Feb. 1, 1995, in Dallas. McTavish is the second-youngest player in more than 25 years to score within 15 minutes of making his NHL debut (Columbus’ Nikita Filatov did it on Oct. 17, 2008, vs. Nashville) and the sixth-youngest in NHL history.
McTavish also had an assist on Adam Henrique’s power-play goal that put the Ducks up 3-1 in the second period.
Anaheim, which has won four of its past five season openers, also got goals from Kevin Shattenkirk and Rickard Rakell. John Gibson made 33 saves, and Lundestrom and Jakob Silfverberg each got two assists.
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 14, 2021
Kyle Connor scored Winnipeg’s goal less than four minutes into the second period with a one-timer from the right faceoff circle. Hellebuyck made 18 saves.
With a wrist shot from the right-wing near the boards that Hellebuyck was unable to see after being screened, Shattenkirk scored Anaheim’s first goal of the season. Anaheim’s first shot on goal came after the Jets had taken the opening seven shots.
During the pandemic-shortened, 56-game season, the Ducks’ power play was one of the less impressive facets of their game, with a dismal 8.9% success rate, the worst in NHL history. As a result, two man-advantage goals were even more important.
Gibson appeared to be in for a long, tiresome night after the Ducks were outshot 15-6 in the first period. The Ducks began to assert themselves gradually but steadily. The Ducks began to acquire possession and apply continuous pressure instead of chasing the puck and losing battles for it.
The Ducks’ next challenge is to bottle all of the confidence they gained from their opening-night triumph and unleash it against the Minnesota Wild on Friday. Eakins will have to make further lineup decisions, but removing McTavish from the lineup is unlikely to be one of them.