Evgeny Kuznetsov is simply disrespectful when it comes to the shootout.
Kuznetsov scored his second ridiculous shootout goal of the 2021-22 season on Sunday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs and Capitals were tied 3-3 at the end of overtime. Kuznetsov was the first player to shoot in the shootout for either side.
Kuznetsov began his shootout attempt by twirling his stick before moving in slowly on Toronto goalie Erik Kallgren. The Capitals’ forward made several stickhandling maneuvers before beating Kallgren with a shot blocker side.
Kuznetsov’s stick twirl is a cocky move you only pull when you’re confident you’ll score. Despite being 1-for-7 in shootouts this year entering Sunday, Kuznetsov was confident he could beat the Toronto rookie goalie in the shootout.
Here’s a look at the stick twirl and finish by Kuznetsov:
Kuznetsov’s ridiculous shootout goal comes a month after he scored a similar disrespectful shootout goal against Buffalo. Kuznetsov took all the time in the world to slowly beat Sabres’ goalie Dustin Tokarski back in March.
Evgeny Kuznetsov with one of the slowest shootout goals ever pic.twitter.com/qZ2TZsyagB
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) March 26, 2022
If a time limit ever gets enforced for NHL shootout attempts, Kuznetsov could be in trouble. But for now, the 29-year-old is taking full advantage of the NHL’s relaxed shootout rules. Given Kuzy’s skill-set and nasty hands, we can’t really blame him for doing so.
Kallgren was making his first career NHL shootout appearance Sunday, so perhaps that’s part of why Kuznetsov twirled his stick and appeared so confident. Experienced NHL goalies are often able to learn the tendencies of certain players and develop formulas for stopping them in the shootout.
Both of Kuznetsov’s shootout goals this season have been controversial, but considering there’s no time limit, we can’t blame him for taking full advantage and having fun in the process.