Forward Jack Eichel scored his first goal for the Vegas Golden Knights in a 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday and coach Peter DeBoer said it'll help take the pressure off him.
The Golden Knights, 17/2 to win the Stanley Cup in 2021/22, acquired the 25-year-old from the Buffalo Sabres on 4th November and immediately gave him permission to undergo artificial disk replacement surgery which had never been carried out on an NHL player before.
Following the operation on 12th November, Eichel went through the stages of recovery and was finally able to make his Golden Knights debut on 16th February against the Colorado Avalanche.
His first point came in his second game, an assist against Los Angeles Kings before the goal and another assist against the Sharks.
Eichel, a first-round, second-overall pick of the Sabres in 2015, hadn't scored since 28th January 2021 before he became injured.
Eichel scored 355 points (139 goals, 216 assists) in 375 regular season games in six seasons with the Sabres. He is yet to play in the playoffs, something which DeBoer says he is excited to do, and ready to excel at for the Golden Knights.
The win against the Sharks was DeBoer's 499th victory in the NHL with the Golden Knights, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils and Sharks.
He said about Eichel to the media: "It just takes a little bit of pressure off him. I liked his game tonight. I thought every game he's taking another step and tonight he was that much better than it was in game one and two. He's starting to get more comfortable, use his speed, starting to get his timing. So good signs."