NHL teams will sometimes end a practice with every player taking their turn as part of two teams in a shootout against the two goaltenders. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres nearly needed every available player in a shootout during a preseason contest Saturday night.
James Reimer and Jhonas Enroth staged a goaltending duel, stopping the first 29 attempts in the shootout before Jay McClement scored in the 15th round for Toronto to give the Maple Leafs a 3-2 victory.
Reimer was 0-5 in shootouts during the 2012-13 season, but downplayed the significance of this particular performance.
"You can't put too much emphasis on it," Reimer, who also made 38 saves to help his team reach the shootout, said to the Toronto Star. "It's good to take and a huge positive, but don't read too much into it."
Needing 15 rounds to decide a winner is a rare enough occurrence, but this shootout also featured a unique maneuver by Toronto defenseman Paul Ranger. As Ranger approached the slot, he took one hand off his stick and kicked the stick, propelling the puck forward.
"I skate in hard and post up and literally just step into it," Ranger told The Star. "It's a kick shot. I don't know how else to describe it. I learned it when I was 10, 11 years old. I've been practicing it ever since."
Ranger told reporters he wasn't trying to show up Enroth, but the goaltender took exception to the move. He let Ranger know of his displeasure by hitting the Leafs defensemen in the back of the legs with his stick after stopping the shot with his shoulder.
"I didn't really like it," Enroth told The Star. "I felt like he was trying to embarrass me there. But it's good to see the guys trying to be creative, too. When I think about it now, it's fine."