Jujhar Khaira made the most of his first goal in the National Hockey League.
Less than a week after he was called up to the NHL, the 22-year-old Surrey native netted the winning goal in Monday’s 3-1 win by the Edmonton Oilers over the Arizona Coyotes at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
Khaira made it 2-0 for Edmonton midway through the second period, taking a pass from Mark Letestu and lifting it past Coyotes netminder Mike Smith.
“It’s a relief for sure, you always think about it and now I just want to build off it,” Khaira told Canadian Press. “Growing up as a kid playing street hockey you always picture it (scoring in the NHL) in your head and it’s a reality now and it feels good.”
Khaira was called up to the NHL team last week (Jan. 11) after starting the season in the American Hockey League with the Bakersfield Condors. Playing for the Oiler’s top farm team, Khaira scored eight goals and added 10 assists in 24 games played.
In 16 previous NHL games, the six-foot-four, 219-pound forward has tallied two assists and 13 penalty minutes.
Khaira was drafted by the Oilers in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He turned pro at the tail end of the 2013-14 season, joining the Oklahoma City Oil Barons (Edmonton’s AHL farm team at the time) for six regular season and three playoff games. He netted his first goal as a pro in the postseason.
In his first full season as a professional, as tallied four goals and 10 points in 51 games with the Oil Barons, adding another three goals in eight playoff games.
He improved on those numbers last year in Bakersfield, where the Oilers relocated their top farm team, scoring 10 goals and 27 points with the Condors. He also made his NHL debut last season, dressing for 15 games with the Oilers.
Khaira is the third player of Punjabi descent to play in the NHL. Retired NHLers Robin Bawa and Manny Malhotra are the others.
* The same day they promoted Khaira, the Oilers summoned a second Surrey native from their farm team up to the NHL.
Netminder Laurent Brossoit, who played his minor hockey in Cloverdale, got the call. In 21 games with Bakersfield, Brossoit has a 9-8-3 (win-loss-overtime loss) record with a 2.67 goals against average and a .908 save percentage. He has two shutouts.
Brossoit is in his fourth season as a professional, and has played six NHL games with the Oilers in the previous two seasons, posting a 3.35 goals against average with an .896 save percentage.