Stars defenseman Stephen Johns’s second-period goal against the Rangers on Monday night was a special one, for many reasons.
Johns returned to the ice on Jan. 18 after sitting out for 22 months due to what the team called “post-traumatic headaches” (the team has not said Johns’s condition was related to concussions). But Johns hadn’t found the back of the net in his first three games this season and his parents hadn’t had the opportunity to see him play. That changed on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
Johns beat Henrik Lundqvist with a one-timer from the point and made sure to find his parents in the crowd after celebrating with his teammates.
Speaking after the game, Johns was visibly emotional as he explained how important it was to him not only to be able to score an NHL goal after so long but also to have his parents there to witness it.
“It makes it pretty special that my parents were here tonight,” Johns said. “Throughout this whole process, it wasn’t just me going through hell. As parents, they want to help. For them to be here and see that, I know my dad was for sure crying. I’m pretty excited to go see them and give them both a big hug. As parents, they want to help but they couldn’t. I know they were hurting the whole time I was, too. That was the only thing going through my mind was going through the line and then finding them in the stands and pointing at them.”