Kyle MacLean Scores First NHL Playoff Goal Against Former Junior Team

Kyle MacLean, son of Islanders coach, scores first NHL playoff goal against his former Junior Hurricanes team, adding an intriguing storyline to the series.

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Salman Khan
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Kyle MacLean Scores First NHL Playoff Goal Against Former Junior Team

Kyle MacLean Scores First NHL Playoff Goal Against Former Junior Team

Kyle MacLean, a former player for the Junior Hurricanes and the son of New York Islanders assistant coach John MacLean, scored his first NHL playoff goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of their first-round series on Saturday. MacLean's goal made him the first ex-Junior Hurricane to score a playoff goal against his former team.

MacLean, who played for the Junior Hurricanes for three seasons while his father was an assistant coach with the NHL club, has been making an impact with the Islanders since being called up in January. In 32 regular season games, he recorded four goals and five assists. Promoted to a more prominent role in Game 1 due to an injury to Jean-Gabriel Pageau, MacLean scored the lone goal for the Islanders in their 3-1 loss.

The 23-year-old forward's goal was a notable achievement, with his former coach Rod Brind'Amour acknowledging the hard work and success MacLean has earned. "The kid's worked hard to get to this point," Brind'Amour said. "It's a pretty cool moment for him, I'm sure. Obviously, we don't want to be on the receiving end, but give him a lot of credit."

Despite the Islanders' loss, several young players showed promise, including MacLean, Alexander Romanov, and Simon Holmstrom. However, the Hurricanes prevailed thanks to goals from Evgeny Kuznetsov, Martin Necas, and Stefan Noesen, as well as a strong performance from goaltender Frederik Andersen, who made 33 saves.

Why this matters: MacLean's goal represents a significant milestone for a player who has worked hard to reach the NHL level. As the son of a coach and a former junior player for the opposing team, his achievement adds an intriguing storyline to the playoff series between the Islanders and Hurricanes.

Looking ahead to Game 2, the Islanders are expected to have center Jean-Gabriel Pageau return to the lineup after missing the opener with a lower-body injury. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, will likely stick with the same lineup that secured the victory in Game 1. Islanders coach Patrick Roy expressed optimism about Pageau's potential return, stating, "We're hoping that he's going to be able to play next game."

Key Takeaways

  • Kyle MacLean scored his 1st NHL playoff goal vs. former team Hurricanes in Game 1.
  • MacLean, son of Islanders coach, played 3 seasons for Junior Hurricanes before NHL call-up.
  • Hurricanes won Game 1 3-1, with goals from Kuznetsov, Necas, and Noesen.
  • Islanders expect center Pageau to return for Game 2 after missing opener.
  • MacLean's goal marks milestone for player working to reach NHL level.