Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas entered Saturday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets with no goals and six assists in a season where he’s made more headlines for questionable hits than he has anything else. Gudas had himself a game Saturday night, though, and he started it off in style.
Less than four minutes into the first period, Gudas picked up the primary assist on a Michael Raffl goal, but the highlight of Gudas’ night came midway through the opening frame. The Flyers were regrouping in the neutral zone with the puck on Gudas’ stick. Instead of dumping the puck into a corner, though, he wound up and absolutely hammered a slapshot on goal that sailed right past Blue Jackets netminder Curtis McElhinney before ringing off the post and into the net.
Goals from center ice have a tendency to look weak on a goaltender’s part, but there’s something about Gudas’ shot that looks like it has a chance from the moment he releases it:
The sound of the puck hitting the pipe gives Gudas’ shot the feeling it would have at least challenged a Shea Weber blast in terms of speed. That’s not to say Gudas is going to be the next great power play quarterback, but he got all of his shot in the first frame. While it may be surprising to those who don’t watch the Flyers often, Philadelphia netminder Steve Mason actually said shots like these are typical of Gudas.
"He's got the hardest shot I've ever faced. [Michal Neuvirth] and I have asked him to take a little off his shots in practice because it hurts when it hits you,” Mason said, via NHL.com. “Heavy, fast, hard [shot]. It just hits you with a thud. That's why we've asked him to take a little off in practice, because he can break your hand pretty easy."
Gudas’ big night continued after his goal, as he added another assist and closed the scoring in the third period with his second marker of the night as the Flyers went on to a 6-0 victory. In Gudas’ four-year NHL career, it was only the second time he had registered a multi-point night and, as one would expect the first four-point night he’s had in the big league.