“Can I move?” the Sundance Kid asked. “What the heck do you mean move?” Percy replied. Sundance proceeded to shoot the safe-cracker twice. “I shoot better when I move.”
Is it possible that Nick Suzuki is the Sundance Kid? Let’s review the facts.
Suzuki scored a power-play goal that was then called back because of an offside that took place 27 seconds earlier. During that goal, he skated the puck down and positioned himself between the two defencemen in order to pull the puck back and use them as a screen for the goal.
After a review, the 27 seconds was put back on the scoreboard and the goal taken off. Suzuki was forced to do it all over again. With the same flourish and almost the exact same move, he scored again on the same power play. The Sundance Kid’s first shot didn’t get the job done. His second shot did the trick.
The thing that cannot be understated about both of those goals is that they went completely against conventional wisdom. In the modern NHL, one of the best weapons that offensive players have is to get goalies moving side-to-side. The types of players that can beat an NHL-calibre goalie simply by staring them down are few and far between.
Mike Smith wasn’t in the greatest position, and Suzuki did use Smith’s defence to provide a partial screen, but still, we see goalies make saves like that all the time. For a player to do that once is excellent, twice in that amount of time is proof it’s not a fluke.
Suzuki even started Montreal’s fourth goal with the breakout in the defensive zone that led to the brilliant rush. It’s like he said to the team, “I’m going to take the puck and score,” and the team collectively said back to him, “This is no time for bravery. We’ll let ya.”