Veteran NHL center Scott Gomez of Anchorage has always been much more a playmaker than goal scorer -- well, except for that 33-goal, salary-drive season he had for New Jersey back in the day -- but he bagged a G tonight in his debut for the Florida Panthers, the fifth NHL team for which he has played.
Gomez roofed a backhander from the edge of the crease -- actually, from in the crease, but that's where the puck was, so it's all good -- in Florida's season-opening 4-2 win at Dallas. That's the 172nd regular-season NHL goal for the 33-year-old -- and, man, I can't believe I just typed that age for the kid The Blog always thinks of as a kid.
Gomez furnished two shots and a blocked shot in a modest 13:09 of ice time -- he played a regular shift with Scott Upshall and Drew Shore -- but only won 5 of 14 draws. Teammate Joey Crabb, the winger from Anchorage who like Gomez played for the Alaska Aces during the lockout last season, was a healthy scratch.
Nice way to start for Scotty. He only had four goals in 77 combined games the previous two seasons, the first with Montreal -- the Canadiens bought out his contract -- and last season with San Jose.
Defenseman Matt Carle of Anchorage and center Nate Thompson of Anchorage, both with the Tampa Bay Lightning, opened the season with a 3-1 loss at Boston.
Carle was -1 with three shots, two hits and two blocks in 21:58 of ice. Thompson hd three shots and a block in 9:20.
Former UAA winger Curtis Glencross of Calgary didn't get a point, but was even in a 5-4 shootout loss at Washington. He played 22:52, had two shots and four hits.
Remember, Calgary is the affiliate of the Aces, and the Flames didn't exactly protect a big lead in awesome fashion in their season opener. They led 4-1 halfway through the game, until Alexander Ovechkin got his groove on -- Ovechkin, who can kind of shoot the puck really hard and often, racked two goals, a helper and a shootout goal, and rifled 11 shots on goal to give him 20 shots in just two games.