The St. Louis Blues are 9-3 in shoot-outs this season, second best in the league, and only the Edmonton Oilers have a better shooting percentage as a team. T.J. Oshie dazzled the world with his shoot-out performance for Team USA versus Russia in the Sochi Winter Olympics and has been almost automatic for the Blues, scoring shoot-out goals at a 9 for 12 clip.
It’s no doubt the format can make for some drama. St. Louis beat the Philadelphia Flyers last night 1-0 after 65 minutes of scoreless hockey, and goals by Oshie (of course) and Kevin Shattenkirk, and two more incredible saves by Ryan Miller. Shatty is one of the most accurate defensemen in the game when it comes to shoot-outs (38.5%) BUT he’s not scored a regulation or overtime goal in a month.
The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning went 13 rounds to find a winner in a match-up last week, the longest such event in the league this season. They almost needed an intermission there half-way through the trial lasted so long. I can’t imagine being either goaltender in that situation.
But how important, really, are shoot-out stats like those belonging to Osh or Shattenkirk, or numbers like Winnipeg Jet Ondrej Pavelecc’s NHL best seven shoot-out victories or Los Angeles King Jonathan Quick‘s .923 shoot-out save percentage? When the playoffs start, there are no more shoot-outs.
Have those 7 extra points helped Winnipeg this season? Obviously not, as they will likely finish near the bottom of the Central Division and won’t make the playoffs. In LA, without the extra 6-points they’ve earned in shoot-outs the Kings would be dangerously close to dropping the third spot in the Pacific to the Phoenix Coyotes, but still up by 3 with six games to play.
Shoot-outs are fine for settling ties in the regular season but in the quest for the Stanley Cup you can give me extra twenty-minute frames all night. Miller and the Blues won an epic goaltending battle last night over the Flyers, but thank goodness the skills competition isn’t part of the playoffs.
GO BLUES! LONG LIVE THE NOTE!
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