They say go to the net and good things can happen. Well Jimmy Hayes showed that if it doesn’t happen right away, keep at it.
At 6’6 Hayes is the perfect target to place in front of the net to screen the goalie and cause havoc around the crease. With an added opportunity to do so on the power play – it finally paid off in last night’s loss to the Boston Bruins.
Hayes scored the only two goals for the Florida Panthers, giving him his first career multi-goal game and his third career multi-point game.
Since play opened up after the Olympic break the Panthers made an ugly habit of falling behind quickly and coming up just short because of their bad start. Against the Buffalo Sabres they avoided this trend and won, but couldn’t repeat the success against the Bruins despite scoring first again.
The best goal scorers in the league are often the ones who are in the right place at the right time more often than not, and Hayes did just that on his first of the night.
Hayes opened up the scoring, hammering home a rebound of a Nick Bjugstad shot – appearing to hit the puck out of mid-air. After streaking into the zone and losing the puck, Hayes didn’t give up on the play and found an open spot behind the defense, putting himself in perfect position to handle the rebound.
Trying to bring his team back, Hayes brought Florida back within one with his second goal after finishing off an impressive effort by Jonathan Huberdeau – fighting off two Bruins before getting the puck in front of the net in between goaltender Chad Johnson’s legs that Hayes finally buried.
Originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks, Hayes was a victim of the depth Chicago has – not being able to find enough playing time for the young winger.
One team’s loss is another team’s difference maker and with a blend of size and budding skill – with more playing time it looks like Hayes can just be that guy.
Despite the dominance of the Sean Bergenheim-Bjugstad-Brad Boyes line, just imagine the size and skill mismatch that Bjugstad and Hayes could create together?