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Sunday April 11, 2010 10:50 pm

Aucoin excels in the one-on-one

Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL,

Adrian AucoinWith the incredible amount of shootouts in the 2009-10 season, you may be wondering who’s doing the best. That would be the Phoenix Coyotes; just another one of the unexpected bits of news to come out of Glendale, Arizona. Not only did they dominate throughout the regular season, Phoenix has a record-setting 14 shootout wins this season, and even more unexpectedly, 36-year old defenseman Adrian Aucoin has been a key part in almost half of them.

Aucoin is six for nine in the shootout. Five of his six goals have come on the road, where he’s made seven attempts. Prior to this season, he had never made a shootout attempt, which is not unexpected for a defenseman. However, his six successes this year were all the deciding goals. This is definitely unusual for a defenseman. He became the unexpected go-to guy in the one-on-one match. His shootout prowess has earned him the nickname “The Closer”.

Aucoin’s six game-winners lead the league. For comparison, Sidney Crosby and Anze Kopitar are the next closest with four each. The only other defenseman in the top 30 with game-winning shootout goals is Kris Letang, who has three. Aucoin and Jack Johnson – another defenseman; are ninth on the overall list of shootout goal scorers, although Aucoin has taken eight less shots than Johnson, and is the only one among the top 10 who have less than 10 total attempts.

Aucoin’s shootout success is quite an anomaly when compared with his other stats. He only has eight goals and 20 assists, neither of which put him in the top 200 in the league. He’s taken 144 shots and has a simple plus-two rating. Despite all of these down-to-earth stats, Aucoin is a key part of Phoenix’s incredible season. He’ll be a welcome piece of the postseason roster, but since there are no shootouts in playoff hockey, we might lose interest in Aucoin. But as long as the Coyotes keep earning the W’s, that’s fine with him.



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