Connor Murphy scores in NHL debut for Phoenix Coyotes

Nov 17, 2013, 4:34 AM

Covering sports allows us writers to see some pretty spectacular moments: A game-winning home run, a last-second touchdown, the three-pointer that turned the tide of the game.

Or a 20-year-old defenseman’s first career National Hockey League goal in his first career NHL game.

At 17:05 of the second period Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Connor Murphy lined up a pass from Radim Vrbata and powered home a shot past backup goaltender Anders Lindback.

“I think it was a nice play by [Vrbata] and [Martin Hanzal] first of all,” he said after the Coyotes’ 6-3 win. “They both made nice plays … Hanzal was standing in front of the net and Vrby found me. I decided to hit the side of the net because the goalie was deep in his crease. I got lucky it went through.”

Answered like a true NHL veteran.

“I think I almost broke my hand punching the ice I was so excited,” Murphy added, with a huge grin on his face.

But Murphy wasn’t the only one excited to see him score his first goal. Murphy was immediately congratulated by fellow Bostonian Keith Yandle and head coach Dave Tippett didn’t leave him out of his post-game press conference.

“He’s such a nice kid. He’s a great kid,” Tippett said. “It’s a big thrill for him.

“He’s a real mature kid. He’s more mature than he looks, let’s put it that way. He looks young. He’s played really well down [in the AHL] and he got an opportunity to play against a very good team and he played well.”

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