Ask an NHLer to name his favourite place to play on the road and many would list loud and raucous stadiums in Chicago, Philadelphia or Boston.
But Abbotsford’s Mackenzie Skapski might have a different answer, even though he has yet to play his way across the NHL. For now, the rookie goaltender must really enjoy playing in Buffalo.
On Saturday, he recorded his first NHL shutout in 2-0 road victory over the Sabres.
It was only his second NHL start.
His first NHL start on Feb. 20 also came on the road against Buffalo and he skated away with his first career win in a 3-1 New York victory.
“I didn’t even digest the win yet, let alone the shutout,” Skapski told Associated Press after Saturday’s game.
To earn his first NHL victory last month, Skapski, a product of Abbotsford minor hockey, had to overcome some early adversity — surrendering a goal just 14 seconds into the game. But he bounced back and stopped all the remaining shots he faced.
His first NHL win came on Skapski’s dad’s birthday and afterwards he posted an Instagram photo of himself being interviewed while still in his goalie gear with the caption: “Notched my first NHL win on my dad’s birthday #dream #47 #happybirthday”
After Saturday’s shutout performance, Skapski posted some Instagram pictures from the game, with this message: “First NHL shutout. I want to thank and recognize All of my teammates throughout my minor, junior and pro hockey for being a big part of this.”
Skapski was first called-up by the Rangers for a game against the Boston Bruins on Feb. 4 after New York’s starting netminder Henrik Lundqvist suffered a neck injury.
Skapski played for the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League. He was selected by the Rangers in the sixth round, 170th overall, of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.