There are few moments in sports as thrilling as a hockey shootout. The skater and the goalie in a one-on-one battle, the range of open ice allowing for infinite creativity, and the winner-takes-all reality of the whole thing combine to create drama of the highest order from youth hockey all the way to the NHL.

Despite having only been introduced prior to the 2005-06 season, the shootout’s drama and open stage for creativity have resulted in some of the craziest goals the sport has ever seen – and some of its most memorable moments, as well.

Here, we’ve compiled what we have deemed to be six of the nastiest shootout goals of all time for your viewing pleasure. So sit back, watch, and try to keep your jaw off the floor.

Ribeiro Gets Cheeky

The commentator describes this goal as “as cheeky as it gets,” and he may have a point. Mike Ribeiro became somewhat known for these types of antics throughout his 18-year NHL career, and he retired with no shortage of shootout highlights to his name as a result.

Here, Ribeiro flicks the puck through his legs and taps it home with one hand before silencing the crowd with one finger on his way to the bench. Whether you love or hate the level of showmanship on display here, you have to respect the difficulty and creativity of the move from number 63.

“The Datsyuk” Is Born

Pavel Datsyuk made a hall-of-fame career out of embarrassing defensemen and goaltenders at the sport’s highest level, and we’d argue that for a decade straight, there was no sight more ominous for goalies than seeing number 13 in red bearing in on you one-on-one.

Of all the iconic moves in Datsyuk’s career, none was more iconic than the one that became simply known as “the Datsyuk.”

In the first season of the shootout format, Datsyuk wasted little time unleashing one of the best shootout goals ever in the NHL. Wielding some of the quickest hands in the history of hockey, he had an unmatched ability to lull goalies to sleep before sending them flying out of the net and burying the puck in the top shelf. The definition of class, indeed.

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Kane Breaks the Deke-Counter

If we’re talking about legendary hands in the modern game of hockey, we can’t leave Patrick Kane out of the conversation. Even early on in his career, Kaner became known for his ability to wheel quickly with the puck in the zone and to fire backhanders over goalies’ shoulders with relative ease.

Here, he puts the mitts on display with what seems like hundreds of stickhandling moves before sending Niklas Backstrom flying, pausing for suspense, and then lasering a forehand shot into the center of the net. The move won the game for the Hawks and cemented a career highlight for the future hall-of-famer from Buffalo.

Malik Goes Between the Legs

Early on in the first season of the shootout format, one of its greatest goals ever was scored by one of its most unlikely suspects.

Marek Malik was a 30-year-old defenseman at the time who hadn’t scored a goal all season. At 6-foot-6, he wasn’t exactly at the top of everyone’s list for must-see stickhandlers. But that didn’t stop him from putting on an all-time shootout display.

With the shootout going back and forth for 14 rounds, the Rangers called on their apparent secret weapon to seal the deal with a between-the-legs goal that sent the water bottle flying off the top of the net while sealing the W for the home team. See for yourself.

Kucherov’s Five-Hole Fake-Out

You should be safe to file this one under “cheeky” right alongside Ribeiro’s goal above. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov isn’t the best shootout specialist in the world, rocking just a 28% percentage on such opportunities in his career – but he made sure to send this one home with a jaw-dropping fake-out.

Skating wide before turning in on net, he fakes a shot that actually sends the puck directly between Robin Lehner’s five-hole, winning the shootout for Tampa Bay. The move was so creative and original that the announcers actually questioned if it was intentional in real time. Rest assured that Kucherov had some bad intentions on this game-winner, employing a “no-move” stunner that has become a signature of his already in his career.

Datsyuk’s Changeup

It’s probably not a surprise to see Datsyuk back on this list, this time with the defining changeup move in the history of the league. At this point in his career, goalies were so used to seeing Datsyuk skate in with some pace before blowing them away with the quickness of his hands.

Here, he instead decides to unleash the changeup, slowing down to a crawl and flicking the puck up into the air, off the blocker of Antti Niemi, and into the net. The move was so disrespectful that it even got a smirk from number 13 as he skated back to the bench. It’s easy to see why he’ll always be renowned as one of the most breathtaking players in the history of the sport.

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March 02, 2023 — Amy Budde

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