‘My hands have been sweating non-stop’: Zach Senyshyn on his first NHL game

"Once the puck dropped it's just hockey, right?"

Zach Senyshyn Charlie Coyle NHL
Zach Senyshyn scored his first NHL goal on an empty net against the Wild. –The Associated Press

Zach Senyshyn was the Bruins’ 15th-overall draft pick at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. The speedy right wing spent two additional seasons in the Ontario Hockey League after his draft year.

He has spent this season and last in AHL Providence, fine-tuning his game at a lower level while every skater taken in that first round made their NHL debut ahead of him.

Senyshyn was called up from Providence on Wednesday to join the Bruins in Minnesota and played his first NHL regular season game against the Wild Thursday. He skated 12 minutes, 41 seconds and recorded his first NHL goal with two minutes remaining in the Bruins’ 3-0 win over the Wild.

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“It feels incredible.” Senyshyn, 22, said postgame. “I know it’s not kind of the way you envision it, but I’ll take it any way I can get it. That was a dream come true for sure.”

Senyshyn played right wing alongside Charlie Coyle at center and Marcus Johansson on the left wing in the Bruins’ final away game of the regular season.

That sentence may have sounded crazy to Bruins fans in October, but with home-ice advantage locked up in the first round and their opponent, the Maple Leafs, already decided, the Bruins elected to rest some of their top players Thursday. Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, and Chris Wagner all rested, and Senyshyn found himself lined up with the team’s February trade deadline acquisitions.

“I felt really good. It’s really easy to play with Coyle and Johansson,” Senyshyn said. “It’s unbelievable, and again, first game. Dream come true.”

Senyshyn’s speed played into his first-career NHL goal. Steven Kampfer’s clearing attempt out of the Bruins’ defensive zone was knocked down by Johansson, who slapped the puck to Senyshyn. As soon as it hit Senyshyn’s stick, No. 19 was off to the races. He beat Minnesota players through the neutral zone and smoothly tossed the puck into the net.

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“Oh, top shelf, dangled a couple of guys before,” Senyshyn joked when asked how he will tell the story of his first goal years from now. “Again, it’s a dream come true any way you put it. You put the puck in the net in the National Hockey League, you’re never going to forget it.”

Senyshyn said he was lucky to enter a supportive locker room for his first NHL game, including young players he has developed in the Bruins’ farm system with, such as fellow 2015 first-round pick Jake DeBrusk.

“To be honest, since I landed in Minnesota my hands have been sweating non-stop,” Senyshyn said. “But once the puck dropped, it’s just hockey, right? The nerves kind of fade away and I was lucky to have a great locker room here, guys that are supportive and guys that I’ve kind of grown up with and gone through the program with. It was a lot of fun once it got started.”

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