Matthew Tkachuk used his head — and the back of Mike Smith’s — to find the smallest piece of daylight behind the Coyotes netminder for a clever game-tying goal.
It’s sometimes said that when you’re looking for holes in a big league goaltender, you have to take what the keeper’s going to give you. And in Matthew Tkachuk’s case, that seems to apply even if all a goaltender’s really giving you is some daylight off the back of his bucket.
Tkachuk, 18, scored one of the stranger goals of the early season on Wednesday night by using Arizona Coyotes netminder Mike Smith’s head to redirect the puck into the sliver of open net that was available.
Off a faceoff to Smith’s left, Tkachuk ended up with the puck just above the Arizona goal line, and his eyes didn’t come off the back of the net. With Smith crouching down and covering just about the entire net save a small hole over his left shoulder, Tkachuk waited until he could get an angle on the slight piece of daylight, shot the puck off of Smith’s mask and up over his shoulder:
There will probably be those who think Tkachuk wasn’t exactly aiming to knock the puck off of Smith’s mask and in, but it sure looked like that was intention with the way he released the puck. Instead of firing a shot with any power, Tkachuk’s release is that of someone trying to chip a puck high and on net. And post-game, Tkachuk didn’t sound as though the goal was unexpected.
"No, (there wasn’t) a lot of room,'' Tkachuk said, via the Flames’ website. "But just enough. I had to bank it off his head.”
Tkachuk’s goal would help send the contest to overtime, and Frolik managed to pot the game winner in the extra frame to give the Flames back-to-back victories after dropping four straight heading into the week.
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