North Vancouver’s Jansen Harkins picked a good time to notch his first ever NHL goal, opening the scoring for the Winnipeg Jets in what turned into a 4-2 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues Thursday.
Harkins took a pass near the left face-off dot and ripped a wrist shot top shelf, short side over the shoulder of St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington. Harkins then picked up an assist on the game winner, whacking the puck out of the air during a scramble that eventually turned into a goal for Andrew Copp. Harkins ended the night with a goal, an assist and a plus-two rating.
“It’s obviously a pretty special moment for me,” he told reporters after the game. “Our line played pretty solid all night so I’m happy to get rewarded. It was an awesome win.”
Harkins said he heard his shot go in before he saw the puck in the back of the net.
“I don’t think [Binnington] saw it. I didn’t see it either. It just kind of worked out for me. It hit the bar – I heard it. It was pretty special. … They’re a great team – Stanley Cup champions – obviously you’ve got to earn everything you get against them. I think we played a pretty solid game and it worked out.”
The 22-year-old Harkins was born in the United States but grew up in North Vancouver, playing for the North Shore Winter Club and Vancouver North West Giants before moving on to play WHL hockey for the Prince George Cougars. He was drafted 47th overall by the Jets in 2015 and made his NHL debut on Dec. 21, 2019 against the Minnesota Wild. He now has a goal and three assists in 15 NHL games with a plus-four rating.
Jansen’s father Todd also played in the NHL, suiting up for 48 games with the Calgary Flames and Hartford Whalers.