Ducks' Zegras after lacrosse-style assist: 'I still can't believe it worked'
Like the rest of the hockey world, Anaheim Ducks rookie Trevor Zegras was in awe of the assist he pulled off Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres.
"I still can't believe it worked. I think it's pretty funny. I've tried it a couple times and haven't even come close," Zegras told reporters following Anaheim's 2-0 victory.
With the game tied 0-0 in the second period, Zegras had the puck behind the net and lifted it like he was going to try to pull off the "Michigan," a rare move in which a player scoops up the puck with the blade of his stick and tucks it into the net.
Instead, Zegras flipped the puck over the net in an alley-oop pass to teammate Sonny Milano. Milano managed to bat the puck out of midair and past unsuspecting Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.
Zegras added that he heard Milano yelling "Michigan" at him during the play and said he wanted to get Milano the puck.
"For him to whack it out of the air and keep it under the crossbar, it's pretty incredible," Zegras said.
Zegras was visibly stunned after the goal.
"He said nothing, I think. He was in shock," Milano said. "Yeah, I was in shock. Actually, not really. I kinda expected it from him.
"I think (Zegras) is going to do it automatically because usually whenever he's by the net, he tries it, so I was waiting for him to do it. He ended up listening to me."
Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins praised Zegras' ingenuity after the game.
"It's who he is," Eakins said, according to the Orange County Register's Elliott Teaford. "He's highly creative. He believes he can do anything with the puck. You're seeing it right across hockey. We're seeing these plays from behind the net because they can do it. The generation when I played, there wasn’t a chance any of us could do it."
He added: "I think it's great for the sport. We're in the entertainment business. That was a really special goal."
Ducks legend Teemu Selanne tweeted one word to express his own amazement: "Wow."
Though the Sabres were victims of the surefire Goal of the Year candidate, some Buffalo players who were on the ice for the play couldn't help but tip their caps.
"I didn't even see him pick the puck up. It's a high-skilled play from a skilled player. You don't see that very often, so it's not easy to be ready for, either," forward Rasmus Asplund said, according to The Buffalo News' Lance Lysowski.
Zegras, 20, has 21 points in 24 games this season. Milano, 25, has 19 points in 21 contests.