Photo credit: John Minchillo
Late in the second period of Sunday’s game, Washington Capitals center Mikhail Grabovski earned a penalty shot after getting hooked by Ryan McDonagh on a breakaway. Instead of getting fancy with New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, Grabo raised up his stick towards the Madison Square Garden roof and fired a slap shot into the top corner of the net.
GIF by welshhockeyfan
It was Mikhail’s ninth goal of the season. The tally gave the Caps a very badly needed 3-0 lead heading into the third period.
“It takes a lot of guts to pull that off,” head coach Adam Oates said after the game. “And he did. Good for him. Obviously Grabo’s penalty shot made a big difference.”
After the game, Grabovski spoke to the press about his goal, in broken English, and thoroughly explained his strategic thinking .
Against this goalie I think [I have] two [penalty shots], no? I think, yeah. I don’t remember exactly, but I think… [Last time] I try different. I try no shoot, try dribble and make him move. But today I kind of decided right away to shoot. … He pretty good goalie move side to side so it’s really hard to score [against him]. You just need to shoot… [Went] glove side. I’m a little bit lucky. Happy to score against such a great goalie.
Sunday was the first time Grabovski has faced Lundqvist on a penalty shot and the first time he’s scored, after three career attempts. His other two come against Carey Price and Corey Crawford. On both, he was blocked while deke-ing.
So despite Henrik Lundqvist making a bunch of scintillating glove saves last night, Grabovski — inspired by previous failures — decided to challenge The King’s so-called weakness: high glove. It worked.
“That’s what you have to do against [Lundqvist]. It’s hard to beat him. He reads the game well,” said Alex Ovechkin after the game.
On this night, Grabovski read the game better.
PHOTO: The guys were pretty impressed with Mikahil Grabovski's penalty shot. (photo cred: Scott Levy – Getty Images) pic.twitter.com/regoAlcwMi
— Washington Capitals (@washcaps) December 9, 2013