Practice makes perfect. Kirill Marchenko had worked on his between-the-legs shot for weeks, and when he got the opportunity to try it in an NHL game, he took it.
And it led to one of the greatest goals of this season. Marchenko and the Columbus Blue Jackets stunned NHL fans as they won over the Buffalo Sabres with a 9-4 victory on Tuesday evening.
And Marchenko was the star of the game, scoring a natural hat trick in a span of just 8:07.
Marchenko’s first goal of the night was absolutely breathtaking. The Blue Jackets were on a powerplay with 11.5 seconds left in the first period.
Marchenko got the puck from Johnny Gaudreau on the left side of the opposing goal and pulled it behind his legs and into the goal.
The puck even went through Sabres defenseman Mattias Samulesson’s legs on its way to the goal. The goal quickly went viral, with fans absolutely stunned.
His teammates’ jaws dropped as well.
“I wasn’t able to see it,” Gaudreau said per The Athletic. “But I heard the guys hooting and hollering about the goal. He’s so skilled.”
But it didn’t happen by chance for Marchenko. Postgame, he revealed that he has practiced for it for a long time.
“I worked three weeks on this move in practice, on an open net,” Marchenko said. “Now, though, I have a chance to score. It’s just about work. For everybody. Ovechkin scores a lot of goals from the left circle on a one-timer. He’s worked hard on that. For every player, if you work hard, you develop confidence in that situation.”
But Marchenko admitted that there was some luck involved.
“In this situation, it’s a little bit of luck for me,” Marchenko said about splitting the defender’s leg.
On social media, fans were thrilled to watch Marchenko’s goal on repeat.
“Goal of the year!” one said.
“Filthy,” another said.
“That was slick,” a third added.
“Goal of 2023,” a fourth said.