The Pittsburgh Penguins injury problems thrust 24-year-old Czech Republic rookie Radim Zohorna into the lineup on Thursday night. Depleted by injuries, the Penguins are looking for offense from any and every source.
Evgeni Malkin, Jason Zucker, Brandon Tanev, and Kasperi Kapanen were out on Thursday.
Zohorna was the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins leading scorer at the time of his recall earlier this week. In Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Zohorna had nine points (3g, 6a) in 11 games.
The Penguins signed the giant 6-foot-6, 220-pound winger from the Czech Republic in the offseason. Zohorna, the big winger who wears No. 67, scored in his first NHL game, in his first NHL period, on his first NHL shot. He buried a one-timer from Anthony Angello at 17:21 of the first period.
The Zohorna tally gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead during a period in which they were being outshot by the Buffalo Sabres.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now writer Shelly Anderson profiled Zohorna this week, with some help from PHN’s WBS Penguins sources.
Zohorna is making the adjustment from the large European rinks to the smaller North American ice surfaces.
“I had a really big problem with the ice because the players are so nearby me in the (offensive) zone,” Zohorna said on Tuesday. “Now it’s not so bad.”
Head coach Mike Sullivan also weighed in on Tuesday.
“This was the best impression we got of him, just to have him be part of a practice,” Sullivan said earlier this week. “Unfortunately, we’ve been playing so many games that we haven’t had an opportunity to get him in a team practice. I thought he did a real good job. He has good hockey sense. He has real nice hands. He can make plays.”
Zohorna sprang the Penguins fourth line with Frederick Gaudreau and Anthony Angello on a breakout earlier in the period with a between the legs breakout pass.
The Penguins fourth line was cycling well, and Angello controlled the puck behind the Buffalo net. His quick pass to Zohorna was quickly in the back of the net.
The Penguins began warmups by sending Zohorna on his customary rookie debut solo lap.
Rookie treatment for Radim Zohorna -DP pic.twitter.com/ykZlqnaK9e
— AT&T SportsNet™ PIT (@ATTSportsNetPIT) March 25, 2021
Radim Zohorna (1).