Artemi Panarin had a sliver of daylight to aim for over Pekka Rinne’s shoulder and the Blackhawks winger found it with a picture-perfect one-time blast for his 17th goal of the campaign.
Artemi Panarin might never be a 50-goal scorer, he may never win a Rocket Richard Trophy and he likely won’t be the player most synonymous with the phrase “Russian sniper.” If there is one thing Panarin might be taking from Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin, though, it might be the throne as the player with the best one-timer in the league.
Throughout his rookie season, Panarin was as much set-up man as he was one-time destroyer, but for the better part of his sophomore season, the 25-year-old has been near impossible to turn away when he unloads on a puck in his wheelhouse. In fact, it’s a fair bet to say roughly half of his 17 goals this season have come in one-time fashion, and that’s likely a low estimate. Even still, none of those have been quite as impressive as his tally on Sunday night.
Coming down the left wing in the first period, Panarin opened up his stance while Patrick Kane carried the puck into the Predators’ zone Sunday evening. Kane cut towards Panarin and placed a 10-foot pass on the Blackhawks winger’s stick, and in the blink of an eye, the puck somehow found a sliver of daylight up over the shoulder of Nashville’s Pekka Rinne to give Chicago an early lead:
Watch where Rinne is by the time Panarin gets the puck. By the looks of it, Panarin doesn’t have much, if anything, to shoot at. You know he got some power in it when not even the camera operators can keep up with the shot, too.
With the tally, which was his only point on the night, Panarin now sits in a tie for 12th in the league with 17 tallies and his 41 points are good for sixth-most in the league. He’s on pace to narrowly surpass his rookie season point total of 77 and reach the 30-goal plateau for the second time in two campaigns. Not a bad start to his NHL career.
Want more in-depth features and expert analysis on the game you love? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.