CALGARY, AB – Calgary Flames goaltender Daniel Taylor received a second chance to earn his first National Hockey League victory.
Asking coach Bob Hartley for another start after a 4-0 setback against the Phoenix Coyotes in February, the coach granted Taylor’s wish for a second opportunity.
“He told me and said ‘I would really like to have another start’,” Hartley said. “I think that’s very healthy. I’d rather see a guy coming up and hoping for another start, wanting to be at the plate, not to be on deck.”
The 26-year-old hit it out of the park with his next opportunity, making 29 saves in Calgary’s 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks – the first of his career.
"It's every kid's dream to grow up and play in the NHL and win games," Taylor said after the contest. "It's obviously a dream come true, but I'm not satisfied. I want more. I want to win more."
But for the moment, Hartley reflected on the significance of Taylor’s accomplishment.
“It’s always a special moment for a young player to get his first NHL goal, get his first NHL win and to be part of this, the guys were happy,” he said. “Jarome (Iginla) presented him with the game puck after and everyone was all-smiles. Those are special moments and that’s important.”
Taylor’s route to his first win made the moment all the more special. It’s been a seven-year journey in the making.
Five ECHL teams, four American Hockey League teams, a stint in Germany and two National Hockey League franchises in his travels, Taylor finally earned his first career victory.
The win came just 26 days short of the five-year anniversary of his NHL debut – a 20-minute relief appearance with the Los Angeles Kings on March 29, 2008.
“It’s nice to get rewarded but it’s the same game that I’ve been playing for a long, long time,” Taylor said. “I consider myself very fortunate to get the opportunity to get a couple starts, for sure.”
Taylor’s opportunity in Calgary was an unorthodox one to say the least.
Playing for the Abbotsford Heat on an AHL deal, Taylor was quickly signed to a one-year deal with the Flames and traveled to Calgary after franchise netminder Miikka Kiprusoff went down after suffering a sprained knee in early February.
Waived and subsequently returned to Abbotsford one week later, the Plymouth, England product was summoned to the NHL once again on February 16th. He made the start against Phoenix two days later before waiting another 13 days for the opportunity to capture his first win.
In other words, anything can happen in the game of hockey.
“This is my seventh year pro now and seven years is not a long stretch but you get to know the game fast and that goaltending can change in a hurry whether it’s good or bad,” Taylor said. “You always have to be ready and you always have to prepare and play as hard as you can every day.
“An opportunity came my way and I was very thankful for that.”
Another chance Taylor turned into his first career win.
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