On a slow night in the NHL, both games being played went to a shootout, furthering the same debate that has been going on for years – is the shootout the correct tool to decide an NHL game?
Many fans are complaining about the number of games that are decided in the shootout, as it seems to have increased in recent years. In 2013-14, 97 of 720 games were decided in a shootout, for a rate of 13.5 percent. This season, the rate is up to 19.6 percent.
Nonetheless, goaltenders seem to be having even more success than usual, as their save percentage in the tiebreaker is 66.7 percent in 2013-14, up from 64 percent last season.
There is no doubt that the shootout brings excitement to any game. In fact, the Anaheim-Phoenix shootout went six rounds last night before Jonas Hiller stopped a Shane Doan wrist shot to secure the win for the Ducks. And just a few hours earlier, Winnipeg-St. Louis went seven rounds before Ondrej Pavelec stopped a Chris Stewart wrist shot to garner a big win for the Jets, who have been struggling as of late.
Both games were extraordinarily exciting from the start, yet fans had mixed reactions to another night filled with shootouts. In-arena fans almost always go nuts for the shootout, on their feet nearly the entire time. Those watching at home are often just as frantic during the point of the game that many need to be hooked up to a defibrillator. Nobody doubts the excitement of the shootout. But the issue arises when people bring up, rightly so, that an individual contest is deciding a team game.
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. Are shootouts here to stay? Or should they be replaced with something more team friendly?