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When Matt Calvert was called up last week from AHL Springfield, not even he knew what to expect with his first trip the NHL
With one point to center ice, referee Bill McCreary incited a raucous celebration on the Blue Jackets bench.
You would think that rookie winger Matt Calvert had snapped a wrister over Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick's shoulder on a clear-cut breakaway.
The aesthetics are irrelevant when the puck crosses the goal line for your first goal in the National Hockey League. Just one week later, Calvert's second goal was much easier on the eyes.
He took a beautiful stretch pass from Jake Voracek and found himself in alone behind the Detroit defense. It took one move, and he roofed it over Red Wings goaltender Joey MacDonald's right pad, giving the Blue Jackets a 3-2 lead in the second period.
"I saw that I had an opportunity for an odd-man rush, and Jake put a perfect pass right on my tape," Calvert said. "After that it was me versus the goalie and I was lucky enough to put it in the back of the net."
Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel saw more than just a nice-looking goal from Calvert; he elevated Kyle Wilson and Calvert to play with R.J. Umberger in the third period.
"It's great to earn that trust from the coaches, and even better to be out there in the last five minutes," Calvert said. "You definitely know that you've rubbed off on them."
The Kings had a 4-0 lead late in the second period last week at Staples Center, and the Blue Jackets were looking for something to help them get going.
|Matt Calvert has 2-0-2 in his first five NHL games.
An errant breakout pass from Dustin Brown deflected off Calvert's stick and toward Quick. Quick tried to handle the puck in his skates, but it made its way across the goal line to cut the Kings' lead to 4-1.
"(The result) wasn't in my imagination how that one was going to go in," Calvert said of his first career tally. "But it crossed the line.
"I think my celebration might have helped it, too. You have to take them any way they come."
Not only did the goal stand after going to review, it gave the Blue Jackets something to build on for the final period. Goals by Rick Nash (2) in the third period and Fedor Tyutin helped Columbus close to a goal.
"Calvert's goal was a feel-good thing for the guys, and to see him score his first (was good)," Arniel said.
"And when Nasher scored (the second goal), that's when everyone got lit up a little bit."
Yet the life of a player called up is one of uncertainty and Calvert will do whatever it takes to stay with the Blue Jackets, but acknowledges that it's a process that preaches patience.
"It's game-by-game, and I knew that when I got called up," he said. "I just have to work hard and go day-by-day – you always have to be looking to that next shift."