May 8, 2014, 11:28 PM EDT
On Wednesday, Boston Bruins forward Matt Fraser was twiddling his thumbs and eating Chipotle. A day later, he scored the kind of playoff goal he must have dreamed about as a kid when his 1-0 overtime winner tied the Bruins’ series with the Montreal Canadiens at 2-2.
It was his first-ever NHL playoff game and first-ever playoff goal on his second career postseason shot.
To give you an idea of how rare this is, consider these bits of history:
As exciting as those factoids are, the thing that makes this story especially compelling is how much the 23-year-old’s situation has changed in the past 48 hours. The funny thing about all the “dream” talk is that he might not be doing much of that for a little while.
During his post-game interview with Pierre McGuire, Fraser noted that “words can’t describe” the feeling of scoring that goal in that moment (and that he dreamed up such scenarios on friends’ outdoor rinks many times).
Fraser also mentioned a little guilt about eating frozen yogurt before Game 4, and with that Chipotle admission, some might wonder about his diet if he wants to continue to make an impact during this postseason. (Then again, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma’s Qdoba ritual became a big story during their Stanley Cup run, so maybe this will be the next Tex-Mex superstition of note for the NHL …)
Getting to know Fraser
For some, the question is: can this young forward make an impact beyond Game 4?
Here are a few noteworthy things about Fraser:
- He isn’t afraid to get physical. He registered three seasons at or above 115 penalty minutes in the WHL. Despite playing just 14 regular season games with the Bruins, Fraser dropped the mitts twice. His fight against Buffalo’s Marcus Foligno didn’t go too well, but still:
- Fraser scored two goals in those 14 games at the NHL level and had 30 points in 44 contests with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. He scored five points in five AHL playoff games too.
- He’s undrafted and came to Boston via the trade that sent Tyler Seguin to Dallas and brought Loui Eriksson (among others) to the Bruins. Being that it took this long for him to get some playoff action, expectations probably aren’t that high … but his line with Eriksson and Carl Soderberg showed some promise.
It’s unclear if Fraser will make much of an impact beyond Thursday’s big goal, but even so, it’s better than sitting around eating burritos.
(Although that’s pretty fun, too.)
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