One-shot wonders of 2013

December 21, 2013

Chris Higgins (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)

Scoring in the NHL is not easy, and it usually requires putting a ton of rubber on net. Unless you are a sniper like Colorado Avalanche forward Alex Tanguay.

Since the 2005-06 season, Tanguay, currently out indefinitely after suffering a knee injury on Nov. 2, put himself on the scoresheet 28 times with his only point secured by one goal-scoring shot. That’s an NHL best over that time frame. Washington’s superstar right wing Alex Ovechkin, by comparison, leads the league in goals (399) and shots (3217) during that span, giving him just three one-shot, one-goal, one-point games for his resume.

There have been 13 players who have just one point from a lone shot on net that lit the lamp over the last nine seasons. Seven are still active, but none has played more than seven games. Both Ben Smith (2012-13) and Jeremy Williams (2005-06) are part of that group, but each saw just one game of action. One game, one shot, one goal, one point. Talk about efficiency.

If we limit our search to the calendar year of 2013 — the new year is upon us after all — the league leader is Chris Higgins of the Vancouver Canucks, with seven one-shot, one-goal, one-point games. Higgins combines speed and quickness to unleash a wicked wrist shot upon unsuspecting netminders, like this one on December 14 against Boston netminder Tukka Rask:

Close behind Higgins are three players tied with six “sniper” games for 2013: Bruins blueliner Zdeno Chara, Nashville’s Nick Spaling and reigning rookie of the year, Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers.

That tremendous lone wrister hitting paydirt has accounted for five of Huberdeau’s “sniper” goals this season, which is a league best for the current campaign. Those tallies also account for the panther’s lion’s share of his seven goals scored. Perhaps they will also be the building blocks in a career that sets him apart as one of the league’s best snipers.

greenberg
Neil Greenberg, when he isn’t watching the games, analyzes advanced statistics in the NHL and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd. Follow him on Twitter: @ngreenberg.

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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Katie Carrera | December 20, 2013