Alex Chiasson won a Stanley Cup championship with the Washington Capitals last season, but he was one of only three players not brought by Brian MacLellan to try and repeat.
“When you see Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafleur… The big names that I grew up with (on the Cup),” Chiasson said before the game. ‘The dreams as a kid, being Canadian — that sense was strong. But also family-wise, my friends, that was special as well. Because I’ve had to grind it out to stay in the league, to prove that I belong. That’s where it hit me. It was a reward for all my hard work, to get my day with the Cup, and my name on it.”
Earlier Friday, Alex Ovechkin, one of Chiasson’s closest friends on the team last season, presented the forward with his championship ring. Chiasson choked back tears.
But after the “super emotional” reunion with his former team, Chiasson was all business. Two nights after scoring two goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins and getting the attention of Ovechkin, Chiasson played inspired hockey again, scoring a goal and setting a pivotal screen on Braden Holtby that led to another.
Chiasson’s goal came 9:16 into the third period and gave the Oilers what turned out to be an insurmountable 3-1 lead. After taking a pass from Tobias Rider, Chiasson used Dmitry Orlov as a screen and wristed a shot past Braden Holtby that ramped up past his glove.
“It’s nice to get one against my old team,” Chiasson said.
While he didn’t get an assist, Chiasson also had a direct impact on Evan Bouchard’s first NHL goal. Chaser screened Braden Holtby and hopped out of the way of Bouchard’s shot to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead late in the first period.
Chiasson also had his hands full defending Ovechkin most of the night, absorbing punishment along the wall and in front of the net.
The Oilers would go on to win 4-1.
“I don’t think I’ve had a day with ups and downs like that in emotion,” Chiasson said after the game. “Like I said this morning, I think it was super emotional for me to go back into that locker room and have Ovi hand me the ring. Just being around the guys. It was kind of weird, actually. It felt like I was part of that team for a second. Going back home today, it was awkward. Just trying to move away from what had happened this morning and things that happened in the past and focus on the game. Couldn’t of been a better outcome.”
Chiasson seems to be playing very motivated hockey and for good reason. His spot in the NHL, after four consecutive one-year contracts, is not guaranteed.
“I wasn’t playing at the start of the year. I learned last year you have to keep working on your game,” Chiasson said. “I know for me I may not be the fastest guy, but I believe in my abilities. I believe in my shot. I just have to find the right place and right time.”
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 25, 2018
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