Let’s take a quick second to fawn over Anze Kopitar’s off-hand one-timer that made it 2-0 last night.
Off-hand one-timers are the most difficult shot in hockey, especially if you’d like to get the puck up. And, if you know anything about today’s goaltending styles, you do.
The majority of people who attempt this shot lose it off the toe (“the majority” is a massive understatement – it’s damn near “all”), and it ends up being a weak flip into the corner.
I used to stay out after practice with a buddy when I was in college, and we’d take turns skating in hard from the red line on our strong side, while the other guy whipped a pass that we tried to A) one-time, B) get on net, C) with steam, D) under the bar. Our success rate was slightly less than Shaquille O’Neal career 3-pt shooting percentage.
You have to aim for the far post to put it inside the close one, and basically into the far corner to hit the far side. Your wrists have to be stiff as stone, your timing has to be perfect, your blade flat. You need the pass to be near-perfect too.
On this goal, Kopitar starts the play, and looks like he’s about to be rubbed out by Devils captain Zach Parise. He basically gives Parise the “get off me” motion, out-muscles him to create an extra foot of space, and gets a rocket pass from Dustin Brown after a slick drop by Justin Williams.
The puck isn’t even flat when it gets to Kopitar (it’s actually in the air a bit), who says “meh,” and buries it under the bar, over the sliding Brodeur.
It’s a thing of beauty, and far too few people appreciate the difficulty of that finish. I’m guessing about 3-5% of NHLers finish that play. We’re getting into the thousandths column after the decimal with your rec league buddies on a bullet pass.
Here it is in full: Anze Kopitar is good.