To get a goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs, sometimes you have to use your head.
The Edmonton Oilers’ Zach Hyman took that adage literally during Game Five against the LA Kings Tuesday night when he scored a goal with his face.
The marker came during the power play when Hyman deflected an Evan Bouchard slap shot off of his chin and into the back of the net. It was far from the prettiest goal of his career, but it counted all the same.
“Take that trade-off any day for a goal,” Hyman said postgame.
The Oilers reacted in exuberant celebration before realizing how exactly Hyman scored that goal and rushing to check on him. Not even a puck to the face stopped the celebration, though: Hyman got his high-fives from the bench with one hand clutched to his jaw.
“It was fun to watch him take it off the chin and score tonight and not be injured,” said teammate Nick Bjugstad. “That was something else.”
Thankfully, the puck didn’t do too much damage. Hyman got a quick check-up from the trainers but didn’t even miss a shift and was back out on the ice two minutes later. He was grateful that Bouchard’s shot didn’t quite reach its full power.
“Yeah, obviously felt it,” he said, “but he didn’t catch all of it. I’ve gotten a bunch off of different parts of the body. I think that’s the first one off the face, though. It’s a good one.”
He reiterated the importance of messy and tenacious goals in the playoffs when easy chances are few and far between.
“Well, you’ve got to get to that area, right?” he said. “You get to that spot, pucks hit you, you find rebounds, score dirty goals. That’s the way you score in playoffs.
“You get a pretty goal here and there but a lot of it is going to those tough areas and finding loose change or it hitting you in the face and went in. Good bounce for us.”
Hyman wasn’t the only player Tuesday night to help score with his face. The Carolina Hurricane’s Sebastian Aho saw a puck deflect off of his jaw and onto the stick of Brock Nelson for an Islanders’ goal. Aho wasn’t nearly as lucky as Hyman, leaving the ice bleeding and going down the tunnel for repairs.
Capitals fans saw a header of their own back in January when Martin Fehervary scored by bouncing the puck off of his helmet for the game-winning goal against Columbus. It also comes over a decade after Mathieu Perreault’s iconic “tongue goal” for the Caps.
With Hyman’s help, the Oilers took Game Five 6-3 to give them a 3-1 series lead. They will have the opportunity to send the Kings packing in LA for Game Six on Saturday.
Way to sacrifice the face Hyman
(Happy he’s ok!) pic.twitter.com/mDaET1KbnP
— x – Wendo (@WendolynLamchop) April 26, 2023
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