Despite their loss on Saturday, the LA Kings found some silver linings — one in the form of Tobias Bjornfot’s first-career NHL goal.
Unfortunately for the LA Kings, Saturday’s outing in Anaheim was one to forget as far as the outcome went. En route to a 6-2 defeat at the Honda Center, the Kings showed decent energy but minimal results, closing out their season finale against their SoCal rivals on a sour note. But, it wasn’t all bad for the Kings as defenseman Tobias Bjornfot celebrated his first-career NHL goal.
Okay, so it wasn’t much of a celebration when it happened, and who can blame him? After all, when Bjornfot scored, the Kings were still four goals down late in the game. So, in terms of the big picture, there wasn’t much to be happy about for the silver-and-black. Nevertheless, Bjornfot achieved an important milestone and spoke about it after the game.
“A good feeling,” Bjornfot said of his first goal. “It took a while but nice pass from Adrian [Kempe] and nice to get the first one done.
“Tough night for us but, of course, going to remember [the goal] for the rest of my life.”
As per tradition, when a player nets their first-career tally, the puck is collected and given to the inaugural goal scorer as a souvenir. Following the game on Saturday, however, the Swedish defenseman admitted that he hadn’t received the memento yet.
“I haven’t seen it yet,” an amused Bjornot noted. “I don’t know who grabbed it but I’m going to see it soon maybe.”
Following Saturday’s game, head coach Todd McLellan also addressed Bjornfot’s maiden marker.
“It’s exciting. It’s the most excitement we had on the bench all night when he finally scored,” he observed. “All of a sudden, there was some life and a little bit of energy. So, that’s really good for Toby and good for our guys that we could at least honor him for his first goal. But, I’m always excited to see a young player come into the league and get their first. It seems to be a– not only an individual moment but a team moment, and at least we had one team moment.”
As celebratory as scoring his first goal was, though, Bjornfot has shifted his focus to his play now and for the rest of the season. After all, with the Kings’ playoff chances all but dashed, the remainder of the campaign will serve as an audition of sorts for younger players like Bjornfot to prove themselves for next season.
“It’s huge for me and a lot of the other guys to show management what we got and trying to do my best,” the blueliner stressed. “It’s tough to play back-to-back but just to be ready and compete. The compete level must be higher than it was today, but [just] be ready to play.”
Scoring their first-career NHL goal is special for any player. Now that he has this out of the way, though, the collective hope is that Tobias Bjornfot can elevate his game as the regular season draws closer to its conclusion. Kings’ management and their coaching staff certainly hope to have their No. 33 as a full-timer next season, but how much of a role he will play will be up to Mr. Bjornfort himself.
Let us see what the 20-year-old has in store.