Paul Ranger’s creative shootout effort draws slash, laughs

The Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres played to a 2-2 draw on Saturday night in exhibition action, with the tiebreaker settled by a shootout that made it to 15 rounds before Jay McClement scored the goal. Of course, all anybody wants to talk about is Paul Ranger’s effort, shown above.

We’ve seen a lot of dazzling moves in the shootout before. It has been around for eight years now, after all, at all levels of the game. I’ve never seen the “kick-stick” move, nor any variant. The best part of this clip is that Ranger and Randy Carlyle are both seen smirking before the shot, apparently aware of what’s going to happen. After 19 shots failed to go in, what could go wrong?

That puck was surprisingly close to going in. Ranger got some good wood behind it.

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I can’t think of a lower leverage situation than “pre-season shootout” to display something like this. It’s somewhat reminiscient of Doug Flutie’s dropkick conversion attempt back in the 2005 NFL season, a meaningless game where you get to try out something kind of fun. Enroth didn’t seem to think it was as funny as Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson, did.

At first, anyway:

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As Wysh pointed out at Puck Daddy, can you imagine how the ever-emotional Ryan Miller would have handled the situation?

McClement scored the tying goal with just under five minutes to go in regulation, and tucked home the shootout winner. Forget about embarrassing Enroth. Can you imagine being one of the eight Leafs shooters on the bench yet to take a turn when Carlyle gave that the green light?

James Reimer played the full game. He stopped 38 shots in regulation and overtime (he looked superb in the first period, which was all I got to watch of this one) and stopped 12 in the shootout, as three Sabres players missed the net on their attempts. Last season, Carlyle gave Ben Scrivens the start in Game One of the season because of the rhythm Scrivens was in, and if Jonathan Bernier still has trouble adjusting to his equipment next week, I can see where Carlyle may go with Reimer as his opening day starter.

Also, I don’t think we’ll see this out of Ranger in the regular season. What if he’d scored though? How do you say “no” to the same move in another 10-round shootout where nobody can solve the keeper?

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