The day after Valentine’s 2014 was wild. In Sochi, Team USA bested Team Russia 3-2 in a shootout victory that elevated TJ Oshie to an international sports star.
Three years and change later, Oshie’s shootout goal helped lift the Caps to an important win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. In net for Columbus was a familiar foe: Sergei Bobrovsky, the same goalie Oshie faced at those fateful 2014 Olympics.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 24, 2017
On Thursday, with the Caps tied after regulation and overtime, Barry Trotz did the only sane thing and put Oshie out first.
Slowly and deliberately, Oshie skated into the slot. With a subtle wrist, he put the puck low to Bob’s glove side.
Bobrovsky expected a five-hole shot, which is just what Oshie wanted.
“Tonight, I was not going five hole just from seeing Bobrovski in the Olympics and shootout a bunch of times,” Oshie told CSN’s Tarik El-Bashir after the game. “I saw something and went for it. Fortunately it was the right read and I found the back of the net.”
Back in 2014, Oshie repeatedly went to the five hole and got rewarded for it. Then he telegraphed five hole, went high, and got rewarded for that.
A shootout specialist, Oshie has had a lot of time to work on tactics. “I’ve probably been practicing shootouts since I was about ten-years-old. I’m 30 now, so that’s 20 years working on just the shootout,” Oshie continued.
“It’s not because I had to do it, it was just something that was fun to me, just you and goalie. I had fun with it and found a couple moves that work.”
And work it did, as teammate John Carlson noted. “I think he probably mentally had the upper hand on [Bobrovsky],”John Carlson told reporters. “But I think it all boils down to what TJ is capable of. I expect him to go out and score every time.”
The Bob on Oshie in shootouts: “He’s a skilled guy on the shootouts, obviously. He beat me again.”
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) March 24, 2017
Additional reporting by Chris Gordon
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