Brandon Bollig usually saves his big smiles for his fights.
But when the Blackhawks bruising forward scored the first goal of his NHL career, and in a playoff game, he was downright beaming.
Bollig obviously isnt here to score goals. But the rookie has been said to have a heck of a wrist shot, and he showed it for his first career tally in Game 2 on Saturday night. It was a great moment for Bollig, who played just over eight minutes and finished a plus-1.
It didnt happen in the regular season and the fact it came in the playoffs and at that time was an amazing feeling, said Bollig of that goal. Ive been hearing from everyone. Im so fresh in the NHL, so its great to see all the activity going on with my phone, people who are happy for me. Its been great.
Bolligs a fighter by nature. Its what brought him up here, not long after the Blackhawks traded big man John Scott to the New York Rangers. And when Bolligs fought, hes been a formidable opponent. Still, the fight options usually diminish during the postseason unless youre playing in the Pittsburgh-Philadelphia series. So his work in Game 2 was proof that Bollig doesnt have to be a one-dimensional player.
I hope so. Thats what Im trying to do, Bollig said about showing more of his game. Obviously what got me here was that enforcer-type role. But what will make me stick is bringing more than that.
Bryan Bickell, whos also known for his wrist shot, was happy for his road roommate.
That was a huge goal for us, and its nice to see that at this time of year, Bickell said. It shows he can play. He had a few (shifts) with us (on the checking line) and had more chances. Hes not just a tough guy. He has a scoring touch.
Bollig does have a shot, but hes still more known for his physical presence. And Bollig will still bring that big presence and be ready if called upon. The way this series is going, as the snark and intensity builds, Bollig could be smiling again for other reasons.
The longer it goes the more heated it gets and the more fun it gets, Bollig said about the series. For me, at least.