Eric Staal made distinctive NHL historical past on Saturday, notching a short-handed tally to open the scoring in Recreation 1 of the Stanley Cup Closing.
Staal’s aim marked solely the third time in NHL historical past that the primary rating of the Cup Closing got here on a short-handed aim, with the others coming in 1936 and 1997, per Hockey Reference.
With the Vegas Golden Knights on the person benefit, William Karlsson’s stick shattered throughout a shot try, sending the Panthers the opposite means. After receiving a crisp cross from Anton Lundell, Staal wrapped across the Vegas cage, depositing the puck right into a gaping web.
Fittingly, Staal’s history-making aim got here in his one centesimal profession playoff recreation throughout what has been a storybook season for the Panthers and himself.
Staal sat out the whole 2021-22 season earlier than returning to the NHL this 12 months, making the Panthers on a tryout. The 38-year-old performed in 72 regular-season video games, recording 29 factors (14 targets, 15 assists) in that area. Getting into Saturday, Staal had three factors (one aim, two assists) in 16 video games for the postseason.
Counting his aim in Recreation 1, Staal now has 63 profession factors over 100 postseason video games, tallying 24 targets and 38 assists. His shorthanded aim Saturday was the primary of his profession within the Stanley Cup playoffs.