April 3, 2013
Uniondale, N.Y. - Former Notre Dame hockey captain Anders Lee (Edina, Minn.) got his National Hockey League career off to a fast start as he scored his first career goal on his first shot to help the New York Islanders to a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday night at Nassau County Coliseum.
Lee, who signed a two-year entry level contract on Monday, was in the lineup on Tuesday night for his first game, skating on a line with Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas, who would both pick up assists on his first goal.
With the puck in the Islanders zone, Cizikas moved it to Martin in the neutral zone who left the puck for Lee near the left boards at the Winnipeg blue line. Lee moved it down the boards past Dustin Byfuglien and using defenseman Toby Enstrom as a screen snapped a wrist shot over goaltender Ondrej Pavelec's blocker and inside the left post for the goal at 16:13 of the first period to stake the Islanders to a 1-0 lead.
"I was just trying to get the puck to the net, especially in the first period," said Lee, New York's sixth-round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft.
"I was so surprised. I just threw it on net, it happened to go in. It was pretty awesome. My head was spinning at that point. If it wasn't enough to be playing in my first game, that was really exciting."
With his family in attendance at the Nassau County Coliseum, Lee played 9:36 in the game and was credited with one shot, two blocked shots, one giveaway and was -1 in his first NHL action.
The Jets would take a 2-1 lead early in the second period only to see the Islanders get two goals in the second period and two in the third for the 5-2 win.
New York is currently tied for second in the NHL's Atlantic Division with New Jersey, as the Islanders are 18-16-3 record, good for 39 points. They are tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 11 games left to play.
Lee and the Islanders will return to action at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 4 when they travel to Washington, D.C., to face the Washington Capitals.
The 6-3, 227-pound forward, who played center at Notre Dame, finished his Irish career on March 30 in a 5-1 loss to Saint Cloud State in the NCAA Midwest Regionals in Toledo, Ohio.
A first team all-CCHA selection this season, Lee led the Irish with 20 goals and 18 assists for 38 points. During his three seasons at Notre Dame, he played in 125 career games and was 35th on the all-time scoring list with 61 goals and 55 assists for 116 career points. Among his goals were 17 power-play goals, two short-handed tallies and 10 game winners and he was +37 for his career.