Through the Legs
We’ve all seen Marek Malik‘s between the legs shootout winner for the New York Rangers back in 2005. Through the leg goals just weren’t a thing in the NHL before Malik (or they happened very rarely). Since Malik’s goal players have started breaking out through the leg goals with more frequency.
But since Malik’s highlight-reel goal in ’05, those through the legs attempts have gone from the shootout to in-game and are becoming much more common.
Earlier this season, Mathew Tkachuk scored an OT game-winner against the Nashville Predators by going through the legs and it grabbed headlines everywhere for weeks.
A few months later, Mathew Barzal would also grab the headlines for a similar effort against the Dallas Stars.
With the score 3-2 for the visiting Stars in the dying minutes of regulation, the Islanders needed to get a goal to tie it up at three and force overtime. With seconds left on a power play, Devon Toews cranks a shot wide Dallas’s net.
As the puck bounces off the boards and towards Mathew Barzal at the front of the net he has a split second to react.
That’s not easy to do. Think about the decision making that had to go into that goal and how little time he had to make it.
Barzal had to know he didn’t have the right angle to just direct it on net and he also had to know that the 6’8″ goalie in net would likely have the bottom of the net covered (he did) so going high was his best shot to score.
All of that while the puck is bouncing off the boards after Devon Toews fired it with everything he’s got. Barzal had half a second to make that call in his mind and then execute it. Incredible.