Rangers’ Lafrenière’s Montreal Homecoming a Success [Video]

It’s been a long time coming, but the New York Rangers’ Alexis Lafrenière to play a home game. The second-year player grew up north of Montreal; of course, his favourite team was the Canadiens. Unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions and league realignment, the NHL’s first overall pick from the 2020 draft didn’t cross the border during the 2020-21 season. He finally got his chance, and he made the most of scoring a goal en route to a win.

Alexis Lafreniere New York Rangers
Alexis Lafreniere, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

“To come here as a kid and now to be a player here is pretty special, said the 20-year-old from Saint-Eustache, Quebec, before the game. “I look forward to playing in front of my family, my friends… I’ve been waiting for this moment for a little bit now. It’s going to be unreal.”

Lafreniere Had Multiply Chances

Lafreniere skates on the Rangers’ top line, so he got a lot of chances. The television broadcast cut to his family after nearly every play he was involved in. Anyone watching couldn’t help but cheer for Lafreniere, mostly because of his father’s reaction to every attempt.

In the third period, just after Montreal had tied the game, Lafrenière came streaking down the wing, kept his stick on the ice and deflected a perfect pass from Mika Zibanejad. It was his first goal of the season and proved to be the game-winner as New York added an empty-net goal to beat Montreal 3-1. It’s certainly a moment and a goal Lafreniere won’t forget.

Lafrenière didn’t know how many family and friends were in the stands at the Bell Centre. When asked how many tickets he got for the game, he laughed and said, “a couple I don’t have a number but a couple of tickets.”

Next up is a game against his childhood rival team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, on Monday. Then, after a quick trip to play the Nashville Predators, Lafrenière will return to Canada to play in the nation’s capital against the Ottawa Senators next Saturday.

Canadian Hockey Hero in 2020

As excited as he was to play in Montreal, several of his fans spread out across the country in different markets. Lafrenière was a highly touted prospect playing for the Rimouski Océanic. He was a hero for team Canada’s run at the 2020 World Junior Championship. As team captain, he was injured in the first game of the tournament. After missing two games, he returned to power Canada to gold and won tournament MVP with four goals and six assists in five games. Welcome back to Canada, Lafrenière. We missed you.