Ever since Marek Malik’s between-the-legs shootout goal, we’ve seen it at least a handful of times in the NHL. But from the KHL comes this move by Artem Bulyansky, which exploited the popularity of Malik’s move to fake Alexei Murygin out of his net.
The brilliant thing about the goal is that Bulyansky wasn’t just reacting to what Murygin was giving him. He made space for his backhander by faking the between-the-legs move. Take a look at this beauty:
The thing to watch is Murygin’s pads as Bulyansky starts his deke. As soon as it looks like Bulyanky is going to go between his legs, Murygin sets himself to close off the blocker side, and you can see that in the way his body is positioned.
When he realizes Bulyansky isn’t going to rifle the puck high blocker, Murygin has to sprawl back to his glove side in an attempt to get something, anything, on Bulyansky’s backhander. On the third replay, you can see that Bulyansky’s hands are even set like he’s going to try to score a between-the-legs tally.
It was also a 2-1 game when Bulyansky went for the move, which makes it doubly as impressive. Missing a clear cut breakaway because you’re messing around with a deke would get you sat down in a hurry on most teams in the NHL. The marker was Bulyansky’s 13th of the season.
This is the kind of creativity that makes KHL hockey so fun to watch sometimes. You don’t often see moves like this pulled in the middle of game action in the NHL and that’s a shame, because this goal by Bulyansky is one of the best we’ve seen all year.