Down to the Wire: NHL Shootout Showdowns

Dec 18, 2023


The Thrill of the One-on-One: Diving Deep into NHL Shootout Trends

The National Hockey League (NHL) is celebrated for its fast-paced action and dramatic finishes. But the real excitement often peaks during the shootout, a high-stakes tiebreaker that tests the mettle of players and goalies alike.

Freeze-Frame Showdown

An average of 10.4% of NHL games over the past three seasons have culminated in a shootout, making it a significant aspect of the game.

Nerve of Steel or Shaky Stick?

With an average shooting percentage of 34.2%, the shootout phase is a true test of skill and composure under pressure.

Lefty Advantage: Myth or Reality?

Left-handed shooters show a slightly higher conversion rate, but the difference is not statistically significant, emphasizing the importance of individual skill.

Where Does the Puck Go?

Shooters have equal success rates targeting different areas of the net, indicating goalies' preparedness for shots from all angles.


Shootout Success Rates

Shot Location

Deke Shot Type Player Speed Shootout %
Top shelf No deke Wrist shot 20 mph 35%
Low blocker No deke Backhand shot 15 mph 30%
Five-hole Between-the-legs deke Slap shot 25 mph 25%
Top shelf Forehand deke Snap shot 20 mph 32%
Low blocker Backhand deke Wrist shot 25 mph 28%
Five-hole No deke Slap shot 20 mph 22%
Top shelf Backhand deke Snap shot 15 mph 26%


The NHL shootout: a heart-stopping duel under the spotlight, where nerves dance with skill and one flick of the wrist can turn victory from defeat. As we've delved into the statistics, strategies, and mental maelstrom of this high-stakes battle, several key takeaways emerge:

    • Shootouts remain a significant factor: While not an everyday occurrence, one in ten games go to this freeze-frame showdown, proving its impact on the NHL landscape 
    • Pressure, a constant companion: Converting just one in three attempts highlights the immense pressure that weighs on each player, showcasing both skill and composure under the magnifying glass.
    • Lefty advantage? Not quite: Though southpaws boast a slightly higher success rate, it's individual talent and mental fortitude that ultimately reign supreme.
    • Beyond the numbers, the mind game: The psychological battle in the shootout is real, with shooters bearing the weight of the game and goalies needing laser focus and unwavering confidence. 

But what lies ahead for the NHL shootout? As discussions about potential modifications or even elimination swirl, it's clear that this format continues to evolve. Whether shootouts remain a prominent feature or fade into history, one thing is certain: they've injected an undeniable element of excitement and unpredictability into the game, leaving fans on the edge of their seats until the final buzzer.