Isaac Brekken / AP
Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019 | 11:30 p.m.
Cody Glass said Wednesday morning he got his best night of sleep in a long time, not worrying if he was going to make the team. He also doubted if his typical pregame nap would be as restful hours before his NHL debut.
If he had any jitters, he didn’t show them as the youngster's debut couldn’t have gone any better. The 20-year-old scored his first NHL goal on his first shot Wednesday to help the Golden Knights open their season with a 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks at T-Mobile Arena.
“You dream of it as a kid and for it to come true like that is unbelievable,” Glass said. “When I was sitting on the bench, I just had goosebumps. The crowd was unbelievable. It was a very special moment.”
If anyone knows how Glass is feeling, it’s his linemate Max Pacioretty, who made his NHL debut a decade ago with the Montreal Canadiens and scored his first goal on his first shot as well. Pacioretty helped Glass out Wednesday, feeding him from the half-wall to where Glass was stationed to the right of San Jose goalie Martin Jones. Glass shot to Jones’ left while the goalie was pivoting to his right and when it went in, he pointed to Pacioretty then pumped his fist, all with pure ecstasy on his face.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to go out there tonight and try to make Cody look good,” Pacioretty said. “He has an opportunity right now, and I wanted to go out there and try to make him look good in his first NHL game.”
What was impressive about Glass’ goal is how all three forwards chipped in. Glass scored and Pacioretty assisted, but it was Mark Stone who got it started. When defenseman Jon Merrill jumped into the play, Stone made his way to cover the blue line and collected the puck at the top of the circle while his momentum carried him away from the play. He said he heard Pacioretty calling where the puck should be and slid the puck around San Jose’s Kevin Labanc without looking to set up Pacioretty.
It’s the communication — from Stone hearing Pacioretty to Pacioretty hearing Glass call for the puck — that made the goal happen.
“He yelled at me that someone was coming, and he wanted it low so I just threw it down the boards and he and (Glass) did the rest,” Stone said.
It’s one goal, but it’s the perfect encapsulation of what the Golden Knights wanted out of this line. Stone’s defensive prowess kept the puck in the zone, and Pacioretty and Glass converted a tough saucer pass into a terrific finish.
“(Stone) makes a great play, (Pacioretty) makes an unbelievable pass and Cody rewards that,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “He finished a real good play.”
Stone also opened the Golden Knights’ scoring with an unassisted power-play goal on the first shot of the game. Reilly Smith had the other two, including a short-handed finish on a 2-on-0 breakaway with William Karlsson, who assisted both of Smith’s goals.
But the night belonged to Glass. His prediction from the morning was correct: His pregame nap was “terrible” as he was counting the minutes until he got to step on the ice. Despite the glitch in the routine, he finished as the night’s top star.
“Good for the kid, happy for him,” Gallant said. “He’s got 81 more games to do it, but he was awesome.”