Ilya Kovalchuk has 40 points in 43 games this season. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Cody Hodgson won the game for his Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night by scoring in the shootout against the Edmonton Oilers. It was his second goal in five shootout attempts, but both of those goals proved to be the game-decider. Which NHLers have been the most dangerous shootout performers this season? That’s the focus of this week’s THN.com Top 10:
10. Michal Handzus, Sharks
The veteran defensive center isn’t in the top five of San Jose’s leading scorers – and teammate Ryane Clowe has potted more game-winning shootout goals (three) – but Handzus has more shootout goals (four, including two game-winners) than any other Shark.
9. David Krejci, Bruins
Only six Bruins have taken a shootout shot this season, and of the 19 shots attempted, Krejci and leading scorer Tyler Seguin have taken more than half. But where Seguin has two shootout goals (both game-winners) in six tries, Krejci has three (including two game-winners) in four shots.
8. Daniel Alfredsson, Senators
His teammates Milan Michalek and Jason Spezza both have more shootout shots (seven apiece), but Alfredsson has been perfect in four attempts this season.
7. Zach Parise, Devils
Parise doesn’t have any shootout game-winners, but that’s not necessarily his fault. However, he does have the second-most shootout goals (six) of any NHLer this year.
6. Rick Nash, Blue Jackets
It has been a nightmare season for Columbus, but it would be even worse without its franchise player; Nash leads his team with four shootout goals (in eight attempts) and is the only Jackets player to have a game-winning shootout goal (in fact, he has three) in 2011-12.
5. Jason Spezza, Senators
Spezza had only one shootout goal in five attempts last season, but his resurgence this year has extended to the post-overtime sphere of play: he leads the Sens with five shootout goals (including a team-best two game-winners) in seven tries.
4. Milan Hejduk, Avalanche
The Avalanche have the league’s most impressive shootout record (7-0) this season in large part because of Hejduk’s prowess (five goals on seven attempts). That’s more than double the amount he had last season (two goals in six tries).
3. Evgeni Malkin, Penguins
Malkin is making a strong case as league MVP and his domination includes the shootout. After scoring just once in three attempts during an injury-plagued 2010-11 campaign, he has five shootout goals (and two game-winners) in seven shots this year.
2. Matt Cullen, Wild
Cullen took only three shootout shots all last season (scoring just once). However, he leads Minnesota this year in shootout attempts (10), goals (five), and game-winners (three).
1. Ilya Kovalchuk, Devils
Kovalchuk scored just twice in five shootout tries for New Jersey in 2010-11. But this year, he is the league’s most potent sniper after overtime, leading the NHL in shootout goals (seven) and game-winners (five).
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.
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