Earlier this season, Carolina Hurricanes’ Andrei Svechnikov made NHL history by becoming the first player to convert on a “lacrosse-style” goal in a game, accomplishing it against David Rittich and the Calgary Flames. While it had been attempted before, no one had actually scored before.
At the time, we asked goalies around the league two questions about the play. First, was there any concern about player safety, given a scorer’s stick has to be up around a goalie’s mask to pull it off. And second: how the heck to you stop that kind of goal?
You can see how the goalies responded here.
On Tuesday in Winnipeg, the sophomore Russian did it again.
“It was (in) my head I should try — why not? — and should try to do it quickly,” Svechnikov said on the Fox Sports broadcast. “Good try for me.”
We shouldn’t be surprised he was able to pull it off in-game again. This is something he’s been practising for quite some time, and trying to show his teammates even.
Svechnikov’s second lacrosse goal came at a crucial point in the game, breaking a 2-2 tie a little over halfway through the second period and giving the Canes a lead they never relinquished. The Jets tipped their cap to the skill necessary to pull off a play like this, but they also believed Svechnikov was left with the space he needed because of a missed tripping call seconds before.
Adam Lowry was tripped up at the side of the net, which allowed Svechnokov to take the puck behind it unimpeded, and with broken coverage in front of the net.
When Jets coach Paul Maurice was asked how a team can defend that lacrosse-style goal, he said: “Just get Adam Lowry to not get tripped…”
“That’s a tough play for the ‘tender because it’s behind the net — most of those pucks come around the net wrapped,” the coach continued. “It’s pretty neat.”
Jets captain Blake Wheeler also touched on the fact that Lowry, one of the team’s best defending forwards, was left down and out of the play, but acknowledged the high skill level Svechnikov showed.
“There’s one way to defend it,” Wheeler said. “Unfortunately we didn’t have a guy there to do that. Give him a ton of credit. A little time and space behind the net, that’s a pretty sweet play. I guess leave him alone behind the net he’s capable of doing it so that’s going to make its way around the league pretty quick.”
Patrik Laine said he didn’t see the trip on Lowry, but that it was clear defensive coverage had broken down. The problem was that had the defender rushed Svechnikov below the goal line, another high-quality chance may have opened up.
“Good for him,” Laine said. “He made a great play. That’s it. There was only one defender in front of the net so if you want to go after him he’s probably going to pass it in front for a good chance to score.”
So now we’ve seen two of these types of goals from Svechnikov. Others have tried it — and it would seem like this goal will be attempted more and more around the league by the best players. But when will Svechnikov, the clubhouse leader in lacrosse-style goals, score his third?
“We’ll see next game,” Svechnikov said. “Maybe we’re going to try again.”