The Chicago Blackhawks’ goal of the year candidates are usually scored by the likes of Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin, and Jonathan Toews. Now Richard Panik has one of his own after this stunner against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday:
I’ve watched this GIF at least 20 times while trying to write this post. I keep getting caught up because it’s just so spectacular. Panik is a big dude, and he shows off his quick mitts with one of the sweetest individual efforts you’ll see all year.
Evgeni Malkin skates towards Panik to try to steal the puck, but the Hawks winger makes a brilliant toe drag by passing the puck through his legs, off his skate, and back onto his stick. That frees up Panik in the slot, and a trailing Carl Hagelin can’t get a stick in before he fires a perfect top-shelf shot over Marc-Andre Fleury’s shoulder.
Panik now has 17 goals in 63 games this season, which is pretty incredible when you consider he had 19 goals in 151 games with the Maple Leafs and Lightning before getting traded to Chicago. That proved to be a career-changing development for him, and now playing with newfound confidence, he’s become a real scoring threat on the top line with Toews. The winger has a seven-game point streak with his goal Wednesday.