Fukufuji makes historic NHL debut
Yutaka Fukufuji made his NHL debut, but allowed Denis Wideman's power-play goal midway through the third period as the St. Louis Blues beat the Los Angeles Kings 6-5 on Saturday.
Fukufuji, the first Japanese native to play in the NHL, entered to start the third in relief of Barry Brust. He made five saves — including a great one on Doug Weight — beforesurrenderingWideman's goal 7:32 into the period, which gave the Blues a 6-4 lead.
Brust allowed five goals on 20 shots in the first two periods.
The 24-year-old Fukufuji was recalled Friday on an emergency basis after Mathieu Garon was placed on injured reserve with a finger injury. Fukufuji became the first Japanese native to dress for a league game Dec. 16 against Dallas in another emergency stint.
"I was so nervous," the 24-year-old Fukufuji said. "This was my first time playing in the NHL. I was so nervous but I was excited, too."
Wideman also assisted on a second-period goal by Keith Tkachuk and on Martin Rucinsky's score in the first, both on the power play.
The Blues took the lead for good on Weight's goal late in the second period. His fifth of the season gave the Blues a 5-4 advantage and Fukufuji entered the game.
"When the Japanese kid went into the net and he made that great save [against Weight]," Kings coach Marc Crawford said, "I thought we are really going to have something happen."
However, Weight wouldhelp set up Wideman's score for his second assist of the game.
Rob Blake's power-play goal with 5:12 made it 6-5.
Blake gave the Kings a brief 3-2 lead when he Scored 97 seconds into the second period.
Michael Cammalleri started the scoring 3:31 into the game with his 17th goal of the year.
Martin Rucinsky scored at 8:24 in the first to tie it before Tom Kostopoulos gave the Kings a 2-1 lead just over six minutes later.