Rookies Luke Kunin and Zack Mitchell have neighboring stalls in the Wild locker room, and there was a lot for the team to celebrate over in their corner Thursday night.
Kunin and Mitchell each scored his first NHL goal in the 6-4 victory over the Islanders.
"The first one you never forget," said Eric Staal, who added the 357th goal of his career but was far more excited for his younger teammates.
Kunin admitted Wednesday that he was getting antsy waiting for his first one. It came in his fifth NHL game. Staal helped make it happen with a great pass on a 2-on-1 against Nick Leddy.
“It felt awesome,” Kunin said of his one-timer. “You dream about scoring a goal in the NHL, and it was awesome to get it and get the win, the first win of the year in front of this awesome crowd. It's definitely a game I'll always remember.”
Mitchell’s goal came in the third period from an impossible angle. He was behind the goal but found a tiny hole between Thomas Greiss’ pad and the post. In his 15th NHL game, Mitchell was finally on the board.
“Yeah, certainly waited a little while,” he said. “Try not to think about it, but of course it creeps in. It’s just a great feeling; a little bit of relief, a little bit of excitement. It was great to finally get it.”
According to Elias, it marked the first time two Wild players had scored their first NHL goals in the same game since Oct. 12, 2013, when Matt Dumba and Justin Fontaine did it against Dallas.