Brilliantly disguised shot or fortunate mistake?
The internet was questioning Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov‘s shootout goal, which was as creative and unique a move as you’ll ever see.
Kucherov started toward Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner. While he was still quite far from the net, he slyly slid the puck at the goal, but then extended his stick to act like he was going to corral the puck and go to his backhand.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the expected more elaborate move. The puck slipped through Lehner’s five-hole to end the game.
While fans questioned if Kucherov had purposely let the puck go, there was no doubt in the Tampa Bay locker room.
When asked if he pulled the slick move on purpose, Kucherov simply said, “Yes.”
Teammates said they had seen Kucherov pull off the move at practices. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy told reporters that Kucherov had skated by him before attempting the move and called his shot.
“He brought the schoolyard to the big stage,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.
Injured star Steven Stamkos even tweeted a reference to seeing Kucherov’s fakeout before.
So the debate was settled, and even if some remain skeptical, there’s no arguing it was original and impressive.
“That’s a goal that’s going to be on YouTube forever,” Lightning forward Tyler Johnson said.