They say the NHL penalty shot is the most exciting play in all of professional sports. While that may be up for debate to some, there is no doubt that it certainly gets fans on the edge of their seats waiting with bated breaths. There is something simply amazing when there are only two players on the ice going head to head. During the second period in a game where the Dallas Stars hosted the visiting Montreal Canadiens, Stars rookie phenom Valeri Nichushkin earned the second chance of his young career to score his first penalty shot goal.
Nichushkin picked up the puck near the Dallas blue line and got a step on Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges as they headed down towards Carey Price. Unable to catch Nichushkin, Gorges dove in desperation, tripping the Dallas rookie before he was able to get a shot attempt off. Nichushkin went crashing into Price, leading to a penalty shot being awarded and Nichushkin having his chance to tie the game at two goals apiece. What happened next shows why the Stars were willing to take the young Russian with the 10th overall pick in last year’s draft.
Often players attempt a penalty shot by either swinging out wide in an attempt to get the goalie off his angle or come in slow enough to handle 100 dekes within 10 feet of the goal. Nichushkin went about his second career penalty shot in a different fashion. He came in appearing to know the whole time what he was going to do. Skating almost straight down the center of the ice, Nichushkin went directly at Price and wristed a beautifully placed shot under the glove and off the post into the back of the net. Price is a virtual lock to make the Canadian Olympic team and could end up starting for our neighbors to the North, but Nichushkin essentially aced him. Replays show that by the time Price even moved his glove the puck was on the way out of the net.
They say the penalty shot is one of the most exciting plays in all of professional sports, and when two world class players like Nichushkin and Price go head-to-head it is easy to see why.
As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.
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