DENVER (AP) — Cale Makar didn’t take long to accomplish a little bit of history.
One shot on net, to be precise.
The newly signed Colorado defenseman scored a playoff goal in his NHL debut during Game 3 on Monday night as the Avalanche cruised to a 6-2 win over Calgary, his favorite childhood team.
Makar became the seventh player in NHL history and first defenseman to score a goal while making his debut in the Stanley Cup playoffs, according to the NHL communications department. His goal ended up being the game-winner to help the Avalanche grab a 2-1 lead in the first-round series. Game 4 is Wednesday night in Denver.
“He was good. Right from the get-go he was involved,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “He looked calm, cool, collected.”
Growing up in Calgary, Makar and his family were big Flames fans. He joked they are “fully Avs converted now.”
“It’s a weird feeling going up against the team you grew up loving, but my allegiance lies with the Colorado Avalanche now,” Makar said. “It’s going to be an interesting feeling.”
It may be time to update the apparel, though.
“We’ve got a lot of Flames fans in our family and we probably own everything they make, merchandise-wise,” his father said.
Makar, the fourth overall draft pick by Colorado in 2017, had 49 points for UMass and won the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player. He practiced Monday morning with the Avalanche for the first time. He made an immediate impression, too.
“He’s so smooth and so agile,” MacKinnon said. “You can kind of tell why he was so dominant in college.
“It’s not easy to come into this atmosphere. I don’t know how much he’s going to play or whatever. But he looks great out there.”
As for nerves, Makar was doing his best to keep them at bay.
“I’m just going to go out there and if I play will try to do my thing,” Makar said. “Just go out there and do what they need me to do. I’ll provide offense if I have to and hope to be steady on the defense as well.”
AP freelance writer Michael Kelly contributed to this report.
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