Nick Holden has scored 21 goals in his eight-season NHL career. He said Wednesday’s was his weirdest yet.
The Golden Knights defenseman said he wasn’t trying to score when he threw the puck off the back boards in the offensive zone about seven minutes into the second period of a 5-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks at T-Mobile Arena. He was trying to find a creative way to get a pass to center William Karlsson.
But when the puck bounced past Karlsson, off Anaheim center Adam Henrique’s stick and in, Holden got perhaps the luckiest bounce of his hockey life.
No look. Between the legs. And then get credited with the goal. All in a days work for Nick Holden and the @GoldenKnights
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) November 15, 2018
“I was just trying to get it off the back boards, and obviously it bounced a little harder and their guy just batted it in,” Holden said.
The breaks evened out in the third period when Ducks backup goalie Ryan Miller denied Holden a second goal. Holden fired a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle with Miller out of his crease, but the goaltender dived back and used the side of his mask to make the save.
The stop kept Holden from the third two-goal game and second three-point game of his career. But because of how he got his first goal, he wasn’t complaining.
“Maybe it just evened everything out,” Holden said. “I shouldn’t have really scored the first one, and that one should’ve went in, but it hit him in the head.”
Hyka breaks through
Tomas Hyka hopes his first goal will serve as a springboard to more success for his maligned third line.
“I’m so glad I finally scored,” he said. “Hopefully, it will bring more.”
Hyka scored on a rebound after Tomas Nosek was denied on a hard drive to the net in the third period.
Tomas ➡️ Tomas pic.twitter.com/DcxDp0fZCt
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) November 15, 2018
“I just saw a great play by Nosek on the wall, and he beat his guy,” Hyka said. “It was kind of easy for me. I just got the rebound and put it top shelf.”
Another shutout for Fleury
Marc-Andre Fleury became the NHL’s first goaltender to reach three shutouts this season after stopping 29 shots against the Ducks.
The shutout was the 51st of Fleury’s career, moving him into a five-way tie for the 24th most all time.
Odds and ends
■ Center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare got the day off Thursday after blocking a shot against the Ducks, but coach Gerard Gallant said he expects Bellemare to be OK.
■ Wednesday’s game was NBC Sports Network’s second-highest-rated regular-season Knights game behind the season opener Oct. 4.
■ NBC Sports is producing a four-episode digital series called “Desert Gold” that will look back at the Knights’ first-year success. Episodes will debut Nov. 27 and Dec. 4, 17 and 21 and will be available on NBCSports.com, YouTube and Facebook Watch.