Evgeny Kuznetsov is one of the greatest shootout performers in Capitals’ history. Per NHL.com, Kuzy’s 21 shootout goals in the skills competition is the third-most in franchise history. His current connection rate of 39.6 percent ranks second amongst Capitals skaters all time who have had 15 or more shootout attempts with the team.
But being great at shootouts appears not to be good enough for Kuzy. He wanted to be exceptional. So he tried a new move last season, which is about as exciting as watching paint dry and about as hypnotic as this shape GIF. But dang – it sure is effective!
Wednesday, Kuznetsov brought back the super slow move during the Capitals’ 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. He scored again. And he did so easily.
don't know what's more impressive, the dekes or Locker's counting skills lol pic.twitter.com/MUwvIJh5SY
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) October 6, 2022
Kuznetsov began his attempt by skating down the right wing. Then he put on the brakes and deked a total of 18 times before shooting forehand past a stunned Ville Husso a few feet outside the crease.
“What’s a goalie supposed to do?!” NBC Sports Washington’s Craig Laughlin said.
Last season, when Kuznetsov scored with the same attempt against Dustin Tokarski, he explained his rationale to NBCSWSH’s Joe Beninati.
“My job was I wanted goalie to get momentum with me so I wanted to kind of freeze a little bit and stop,” Kuznetsov said. “As soon I saw he’s not on his heels, he was tall and leaning forward that’s when I decided to shoot. So basically I was trying to make him move first.”
The move is inspired by Patrick Kane but don’t tell Kuzy that, who said he had it in his brain “[s]ince I born.”
Regardless of who’s the originator, Kuzy’s goal helped propel the Caps to the win in the practice shootout against the Red Wings. Dylan Strome also scored for Washington.
If Matt Hendricks’ move was nicknamed The Paralyzer, I think we should call Kuzy’s The Mesmerizer.
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