Lightning rookie Taylor Raddysh’s first NHL goal a memorable one

·3 min read

PHILADELPHIA — The lunch-pail mentality that Lightning forward Taylor Raddysh took into his rookie season eventually was going to be rewarded with his first NHL goal, but even Raddysh admitted the wait was starting to weigh on his mind.

The Lightning’s “Kid Line”, consisting of Raddysh, fellow rookie Boris Katchouk and second-year center Ross Colton, is coming into its own. And though it has created a bunch of scoring chances, both Raddysh and Katchouk entered Saturday’s game in Boston still searching for their first goal.

Earlier this week in St. Louis, Raddysh briefly was credited with his first goal. It was even announced on the public address system at Enterprise Center before the score — a clean-up job in front of the net — was awarded to teammate Anthony Cirelli.

Raddysh’s wait finally came to an end in Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win over the Bruins at TD Garden in Boston with a goal that was far more memorable and important than the close call in St. Louis. He scored his second a night later, in a 7-1 win over the Flyers.

“He got teased the other night when we thought he scored and it was actually Tony,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “(The rookies) have been really good for us. I think he and Bo (Katchouk), that was the big vibe on the bench. Now that Raddy scored, (Katchouk) was going to score tonight. He deserved it. It’s always great when you see guys get there first, and obviously a really a big one for us.”

Twenty-two games into his NHL career, the 23-year-old Raddysh had his first goal, and it was a beauty.

The hustle he has shown since training camp paid off with the Lightning’s first shorthanded goal of the season. His goal with 5:47 left in the first period put Tampa Bay on the scoreboard first at a time when it was struggling to create offense.

“It was an outstanding effort and goal,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. “That whole line has been buzzing lately. We talked and joked about it before the game that one of them was going to break through, and obviously a huge goal shorthanded and probably one of the prettiest first goals here you’re ever gonna see.”

Defenseman Mikhail Sergachev attempted to clear the puck out of the Lightning zone when it hit Bruins defenseman Mike Reilly. Raddysh was charging up ice and caught the puck in stride as he entered the neutral zone, skating along the left side.

With Reilly at his hip, Raddysh moved in for a forehand fake that dropped Boston goaltender Jeremy Swayman to his knees before Raddysh brought the puck back and tucked a backhanded shot past Swayman’s right pad.

The goal was critical, because the Lightning struggled to sustain any offensive zone time for most of the night. Their other regulation goal came after a puck deflected off a Boston player, so they needed all the offense they could get to reach overtime, where they won on Stamkos’ 3-on-3 goal 91 seconds into the extra period.

“I’ll take them any way they come,” said Raddysh, who plans to give his first-goal puck to his parents. “They’re not easy to get, as you know. But yeah, to get it shorthanded and kind of start the game off that way, it was a good start. Just got to continue to build off that, and hopefully there are more to come.”

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