Washington Capitals forward Nathan Walker made history at the beginning of the 2017-18 season as the first Australian to play and score in the NHL. On Monday, there was more history to be made in Walker’s rookie season, as he also became the first Australian to play in the NHL postseason.
With the lines shuffled around, following Nicklas Backstrom’s absence due to a hand injury, Walker took Shane Gersich’s place on the fourth line.
Nathan Walker just became the first Australian to do a drop pass in NHL postseason history pic.twitter.com/gEbtFAsUyG
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) May 7, 2018
Walker had a pretty eventful season. With the Capitals, he played in seven games and scored one goal, before being placed on waivers. The Edmonton Oilers claimed Walker, and the Aussie played in two games for them, with no goals recorded. The Oilers placed Walker back on waivers, and the Capitals reclaimed him and assigned Walker to the Hershey Bears.
Once back with the Bears, Walker played in 40 games, scoring nine goals, and tallying 13 assists.
Nathan Walker, already the first Australian to play in the NHL, will become the first Australian to play in the NHL playoffs tonight. pic.twitter.com/NCKRhXVeP4
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) May 7, 2018
After morning skate, Walker spoke with the media about the possibility of him making his debut in Game Six.
“Just keeping it all in check. Obviously, it’s a huge, huge game.” — Nathan Walker on knowing there’s a chance he’ll make his NHL playoff debut tonight. #Caps #CapsPens #ALLCAPS #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/xADnEvr5xM
— Tarik El-Bashir⌨️🎙🏒 (@TarikNBCS) May 7, 2018
“Obviously it’s a huge, huge game,” Walker said. “So, if I’m in, I’m just going to try to do my job out there, and get the win for the boys.”
As for whether his experience in the NHL earlier in the season might help with stepping in for Game Six, he said, “I think it definitely helps. Just being familiar with the systems, the guys, and everything.”
Of course, with the time difference between the US and Australia, reporters wanted to know whether Walker’s friends and family would tune in for his playoffs debut.
“I’m sure some people will be up to watch that,” Walker said. “I don’t think it’s too early. Maybe 9 AM or so.”
Though, when asked if he imagined that he’d be in the position to make his postseason debut with the Capitals, Walker couldn’t keep the smile off his face.
“No,” he said, with a laugh. “You think a new chapter’s going to Edmonton, and the next thing you know you’re back here. It’s great. I’m really looking forward to it, and looking forward to getting out there, and seeing what I can do.”
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