Rookie Knight continues roll of firsts
PHOENIX, AZ -- After rolling out mainstays Joe Colborne, Mike Cammalleri and Sean Monahan as his first three shooters, Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley was looking for something different in Friday’s 4-3 shootout win over the Dallas Stars.
He found it in the rookie.
“I was looking at our first three shooters and that was a given and then I thought that maybe we’d give a different look to (Stars goaltender) Tim Thomas,” Hartley said. “I went down and I know that Ben Hanowski can be pretty sneaky around the net too so I asked them, I said ‘Are you regular shooters’ and Benny right away said ‘I can go, but Knighter’s real good’. I said ‘alright, you’re up. If we go to the fourth guy, you’re up’.
“He made an unbelievable move.”
In just his sixth NHL game -- one that saw him skate just three third period shifts and no spins in overtime -- Corban Knight was on the hook with the contest on his stick.
“I was just sitting there enjoying the view and all of a sudden I get tapped and it kind of threw a kink in that," Knight said. "It was pretty cool to go out and do that.
“Instant nerves. It’s amazing how fast my body reacted. It was about a millisecond after he touched me I started shaking. It was pretty nice to have the coach tap you and get a chance to help the team out. It was pretty cool."
He didn’t disappoint, deking to his forehand before uncorking a shot that beat the 2011 Conn Smythe Trophy winner to send the Flames to Phoenix in jovial fashion.
“It’s basically the only move in my repertoire,” said Knight, 3-for-5 with the Abbotsford Heat this season in the shootout. “It’s kind of nice it worked on my first try."
In his first taste of NHL action, the firsts have continued to pile up for Knight.
The High River, AB native skated in his first NHL game on March 5 and recorded his first NHL goal Wednesday.
A shootout winner Friday caps an impressive nine-day stint that isn't lost on the 23-year-old.
“Just the fact that just over a week ago I was playing my first NHL game and the fact the team is playing well right now, it’s special to be a part of it," Knight said. "The guys are great and make you feel at home here. It’s definitely been a great experience.
"I’m just trying to soak in as much as I can.”