But as emotional as Nordstrom was on the outside, he was having an even bigger party internally.
“It felt really good,” Nordstrom said after the Blackhawks’ 3-2 win over the New York Islanders. “Kind of exploded inside. It’s always nice to get the first goal.
“I was just excited to score. I haven’t had too many goals in my professional career. The first one here was just fun.”
Fellow Swede Niklas Hjalmarsson was the one behind Nordstorm’s first goal in the first period. Hjalmarsson patiently handled the puck behind the Islanders’ net when he saw Nordstrom create some space in the left circle. Nordstrom collected the puck from Hjalmarsson and quickly fired it past Islanders goaltender Kevin Poulin.
Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw collected the puck and handed it to Nordstrom.
Nordstrom isn’t certain just yet what he’s going to do with the puck.
“I’m going to save it for sure,” he said. “I probably think my parents are going to be excited about it.”
His parents weren’t the only ones pleased with Nordstrom’s first goal. Teammates and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville were happy not only that he scored, but that he put together an all-around quality game. He had arguably his best game of the season with the goal, seven shots (two on net), one takeaway and winning 2-of-3 faceoffs.
“It’s awesome, good for him,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “He was working his tail off tonight and doing a lot of good things. It’s one thing to play well like that, but to get your first one is a good feeling and definitely builds your confidence. It was good to see him get that going for himself.”
Quenneville was impressed enough with Nordstrom’s play Friday that he moved Nordstrom from the fourth line to the third line during the game. Nordstrom finished with a career-high 12:39 of ice time.
“I thought he had a heck of a game,” Quenneville said. “He had the puck a lot. He made a lot of plays defensively that led to some dangerous plays offensively, scored a goal, did a lot of nice things. Nice to see him get that confidence, get comfortable with the puck.”