The Sharks' first goal of the playoffs last season went in off of former captain Joe Pavelski's face. On Saturday at the Anaheim Rookie Tournament, San Jose prospect Ivan Chekhovich might have prevented a goal in the same way.
Late in the Sharks' 5-4 win over the Coyotes, Chekhovich was planted in front of San Jose's net when he took an Arizona shot from the point straight to the grill. Chekhovich went down immediately, and could be seen grabbing his face.
The damage was done, although coach Roy Sommer insisted there was no serious long-term concern.
"Yeah, he saved a goal," Sommer said with a smile after the win. "He'll be all right. He's got a cut. I think he lost a tooth."
Sommer held Chekhovich out of San Jose's matchup with Anaheim on Sunday, but left open the possibility he could rejoin the lineup Tuesday against the Kings.
Chekhovich, a seventh-round draft pick in 2017, is one of several young players the Sharks are counting on taking a step forward this coming year. With Pavelski, Gustav Nyquist and Joonas Donskoi all having departed in free agency, there's ample opportunity for some of the players participating in the rookie tournament to make the leap to the big club.
If Chekhovich ends up doing that, he'll likely have a nice scar to show off on opening night against the same team that Pavelski scored with his face against.