Alan Quine has had a winding road to his first NHL game. He was drafted -- twice -- by two different teams, and it's been three years since the Islanders selected him in the sixth round of the 2013 NHL draft. This season he's been a key player for their AHL affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who felt his loss to injury in the middle of the season.
All of which somehow makes the circumstances of his first NHL goal Saturday night all the sweeter.
The Islanders were trailing 2-1 entering the third period with the Buffalo Sabres when Bracken Kearns -- who was recalled with Quine earlier in the day with the Islanders facing several injuries -- chased down a dump-in that caught Sabres goalie
Linus Ullmark out of the net. Kearns won the loose puck behind the net, centered the puck high in the low slot and, well...
...in off of Quine's knee. Just like they drew it up.
The reaction from both Quine, 23, and Kearns -- a 34-year-old with 31 previous NHL games and three previous NHL goals -- was fantastic.
This is exactly what makes late-season recalls fun*. The rest of the lineup, already qualified for the playoffs, is just trying to get through the game healthy. The recalls are just happy to be here.
*Scott Mayfield, recalled earlier this week, also got his first NHL goal in this game, as did Sabres forward Evan Rodrigues.