The backhanded shot seems to be a lost art in the NHL.
However, there are still a few players who are proficient with it, like Seattle Kraken right winger Jordan Eberle.
Eberle showed off that skill Sunday, helping the Kraken rally for a 3-2 victory against the visiting Winnipeg Jets. Seattle will look to stay on track when it plays host to the streaking St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.
Nearly midway through the second period against the Jets, Eberle took a pass just inside the left faceoff dot from teammate Adam Larsson. With former teammate Karson Kuhlman preventing Eberle from turning to the inside, he spun with his back to the net and lifted a backhander over goaltender David Rittich and into the roof of the net.
“I thought it was disgusting,” Seattle forward Ryan Donato said of the goal. “I usually give him a hard time about his backhander, but with that it’s hard to give him a hard time about.”
Eberle said the backhander has become nearly obsolete because of the amount of curve most players have on their sticks.
“I would say 95 percent of the players nowadays, they have a big hook,” Eberle told the Seattle Times on Monday after practice. “Whereas, for myself, I have a pretty straight curve, which is rare. I can think of a few others — there’s me, Sidney Crosby uses a straight curve. There are minimal guys in the league that use a straight curve now.”
Eberle said he uses a “Modano curve” — named after Hall of Famer Mike Modano, the highest scoring U.S.-born player in NHL history.
“I’ve used the same curve since I was a little kid,” Eberle said. “I’ve tried to go to a little bit more curve and it just never really panned out, so I stuck with it.”
Even Kraken coach Dave Hakstol marveled at Eberle’s goal Sunday.
“His hand-eye coordination is special,” Hakstol said. “He’s able to do those types of things in tight spaces, and that one was in and out of the net pretty quick.”
Eberle admitted Donato — who scored the tying goal Sunday before Jared McCann netted the winner with 4:32 remaining — often chides him about his backhander.
“He says that my backhand is better than my wrist shot,” Eberle said. “He’s probably not wrong.”
The victory was just the second for the Kraken in their past seven games following a 12-1-1 run.
“I’m not a big believer that momentum carries over from game to game,” Hakstol said, “but determination can definitely carry over. Coming back into this building, we knew we had to have that kind of an effort. We talked about that and the guys went out there and worked really hard for 60 minutes and for the most part were really responsible and really determined.”
The Blues will be playing the second half of a back-to-back after a 5-1 road victory Monday night over the Vancouver Canucks. St. Louis center Jordan Kyrou netted his first NHL hat trick and added an assist.
“He’s been playing real good hockey for some time, and the goals were going to come eventually, he’s too good of a player,” Blues coach Craig Berube said of Kyrou. “Now he’s capitalizing (on chances). His work ethic has been there the whole year, in my opinion.”
Robert Thomas had a goal and an assist, Vladimir Tarasenko contributed three assists and Jordan Binnington made 33 saves for the Blues, who have won four in a row and extended their point streak to five games (4-0-1).
Nathan Walker added his first goal of the season for St. Louis, netting the what proved to be the game-winner less than a minute after Vancouver tied the game 1-1 in the second period.
“Whenever you get on the board and chip in it’s great, but that was right after their goal, so it obviously pulled the momentum away from them and gave it back to us,” Walker said.
He added, “I’m just glad we got a win and we can keep this thing rolling here.”
–Field Level Media