Matthew Barzal will play for the New York Islanders instead of Vancouver Canucks on Monday night, but plenty of fans will still be rooting for him.
Barzal estimates that 100 supporters, including family, friends, and former coaches and teammates will be at Rogers Arena to watch his first NHL game in his hometown against the Canucks (24-32-9).
"I'm pumped," Barzal told the Islanders' website. "I've never had this many people coming to a game. I'm excited, I'm a little nervous, but it's going to be fun. I'm going to have a blast."
Barzal, who was born and raised in the Vancouver suburb of Coquitlam, said the game "will be right up there in magnitude" in terms of memorable moments in an outstanding rookie season.
"It'll be one of the biggest (games) of the year," Barzal said. "I'm just excited to go back home." >> Read more
Copyright 2018 by the Associated Press