There a number of different ways to go about taking a shot in a shootout, but there’s one advantage that everyone needs to use: you have the chance to prepare.

A breakaway attempt usually pops up at random, and you end up either going to your default move (most players have one), or just looking for an opening and firing at it.

Oh look, backhand shelf.

One important aspect of a shootout attempt is your speed, and you alter it depending on what you want the goalie to do.

By skating in fast and hitting the brakes you can back the goalie under the crossbar, giving yourself bigger holes to shoot at (or it can freeze him if he tries to stop from backing up so quickly). By starting slow and gaining speed you can make your deke easier. So, it helps to know what you’re going to do ahead of time.

Most guys do have a plan to transfer the biscuit to the basket, and they break down into three categories.

1) I’ve created a move, check it out.

Take someone like Mike Ribeiro. You don’t end up skating backwards at one point in your move on some “hey, I have an idea” whim. He’s tried a move like that a ton in practice to make sure it’s effective, and he knows what he’s trying to get the goalie to think (and where he needs him to move). Same with guys like Stamkos, Bertuzzi, and PM Bouchard when they do a spin-o-rama. They know before they leave the bench what they’re going to do, regardless of what the goalie does.

And again…

So yeah, Ribeiro’s moves are clearly not of the “look for a hole and fire at it” variety.

2) This goalie has a weak _____, I’m going to isolate it.

Sometimes you have a scouting report on a guy. As evidenced by the shootout below, the Maple Leafs had one on Ondrej Pavelec last week. All three guys go high glove, two score, and Kessel basically just misses his spot. Sometimes sharing a scouting report leads to situations like this. When guys sense a weakness, they’re like Hyenas on the young, weak wildebeest: ATTACK.

Leafs attempts are at 0:58, 1:47, and 2:45. (Great call by Ferraro on Frattin planning his shot.)

3) It’s about me – I do ___ well, so I’m going to set myself up for it

This comes back to the two guys I’m written about before – Jeff Tambellini and Frans Nielsen. Tambellini doesn’t care how good your glove is. He knows he has a heavy shot that he can put in a space about a foot-wide 9 out of 10 times.

So, he comes down, puts himself in the best possible position to go power vs. power and challenges.

And again….

Same with the Frans. As we’ve mentioned and shown here many times, he can pull a puck from his forehand to backhand and get it up under the bar in .3 seconds, so try and stop it, goalie.

And again, 53 second mark…


There is still the odd renegade player how comes down on a shootout shot, looks for a spot and shoots. But when you have the opportunity to make the goalie do something they’d rather not - freeze, guess, get too deep – you might as well use that advantage.

It’s not easy to put a puck past goaltenders these days. Guys take any leg up they can.