Cory Conacher celebrates his first NHL goal with fist-bumps at the Tampa Bay Lightning bench. - USA TODAY Sports
With two points in his first NHL game, Cory Conacher may be enthused but he isn't forgetting his band of brothers back in Syracuse.
Lightning rookie forward Cory Conacher didn't have to wait too long for his first NHL points. It only took him the span of 53 minutes and 24 seconds in his first NHL game to score both.
Just past the five-minute mark of the second period, Conacher - playing on the power play with the likes of captain Vincent Lecavalier and assistant captain Martin St. Louis, helped give the Lightning a lead with a secondary assist on St. Louis' power play goal.
"It was kind of the end of my power play shift and the puck got dumped down or chipped to the corner and I barely out raced one of their defensemen and poked it down to Vinny and like I said, made a great pass to St. Louis."
The 23-year-old left wing played in front of over 10 family and friends. He sure didn't disappoint with a goal and an assist in his first game as an NHL player.
He was a little familiar with the opponent too.
"Me and (Washington Capitals goalie Braden) Holtby had some battles last year Hershey versus Norfolk and it's a little ironic that I got my first one against him and hopefully we can keep winning and I can get some more as well."
There is just a little something missing though for Conacher: his teammates from Syracuse of the AHL.
"It was different you know, they're a family; we're considered brothers on that team and our coach made that for us," he said of his Crunch teammates and Syracuse head coach Jon Cooper. "Obviously it's different to see you know Vinny Lecavalier on your left side, Teddy Purcell, or Steven Stamkos on the other side...but this is a new family."
Conacher is certainly not complaining.
Lecavalier and St. Louis were players that he "idolized" growing up. Lecavalier even gave Conacher some advice before his first game and during it.
"There were a lot of emotions and excitement going into the game and after my first shift obviously it started to calm down a little but more and talking to Vinny on the bench, he knew how to calm me down and stuff," he said.
After Conacher's nerves were settled, he took off. He had a multitude of chances on Holtby and one finally one went in.
"Even Marty turned to me on the bench and said ‘Your first game went a lot better than mine.'"
Conacher will always be thinking of his previous teammates in Syracuse though, waiting for them join him in the NHL.
"It's obviously hard for everyone at that time but they don't take it and hold a grudge. They are guys that support us and we, for our sake, we want to represent them well and do well here and like I said there's a lot of guys down there that will have careers in the NHL and it's just a matter of time..."
According to Conacher, both pucks (his first assist and the goal) were saved by the team and will most likely be housed back in his hometown of Burlington Ontario.
"My Dad's got a little thing he likes to take all my stuff for me and do something for it so I don't know, we'll see," he said.