Islanders rookie defenseman Devon Toews scored his first-career NHL goal 1:48 into overtime to give New York a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday at Nassau Coliseum.
"It's pretty special to get your first NHL goal in overtime," Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said, according to Newsday's Andrew Gross.
The 24-year-old Toews, a former fourth-round pick who had spent 130 games with AHL Bridgeport before making his debut on Dec. 23, took a shot from the right face-off circle that Blackhawks goalie Collin Delia initially stopped. But Toews picked up the rebound and shot the puck between Delia's legs for the winner.
"It feels good to score and get the two points," Toews told reporters after the game. "It's huge for our team. ... I just saw he was a little scrambled, so I just put it back five-hole toward the net and it went in."
Toews had never been much of a prolific goal scorer. He scored a total of 12 goals in 108 games at Quinnipiac, where he spent three seasons and led the Bobcats to the national championship game in 2016.
After leaving upon finishing his junior season, Toews scored five goals and registered 40 assists in 76 games his first professional season. Last year, he scored eight goals and totaled 14 assists in just 30 games, missing significant time due to a shoulder injury.
But teammate Mathew Barzal believes Toews, who has yet to be part of an Islanders loss since his debut, can be a big asset to the team moving forward.
"Toews has been a big piece the last five, six games," Barzal said. "He's added another weapon back there."
And yet, Toews is taking it one game at a time.
"I feel really good," Toews said. "Obviously there's learning experiences throughout the game and moments that I've got to learn from, but for the most part I feel really good and I feel like I'm playing with a lot of poise and using my speed."