The Belfast Giants and Cardiff Devils have one thing in common so far in this young season.
Neither side appears very good at taking penalty shots.
The two teams meet for the first time in the Welsh capital on Thursday and no one would bet on the game going all the way to the dreaded one-on-one finish – shooter against goalie.
The Devils have only one win from their four league games but they’ve only lost once in regulation with two defeats on penalties and one in overtime. By the way their victory, a 6-5 win over the Nottingham Panthers last Sunday came in, that’s right, overtime.
The Giants are a point above the Devils with two wins and two penalty shot losses, the latest against Sheffield last Sunday after they’d fought back from a 4-1 deficit.
It shows how close the battle for the league title will be this season with three of Sunday’s games decided in the shootout, one in overtime and the other was a one-goal game.
The Devils have the league’s top scorer in Mac Faulkner who leads the offensive charge along with Chris Blight and Max Birbraer. The trio have a combined 32 points in six league and cup games and will be particularly dangerous in the smaller confines of the Cardiff Arena.
After five games played, the Giants scoring lead is shared by linemates Scott Champagne and Noah Clarke. The duo did not start the season playing together but after Clarke moved into the centre position Christiansen thought he should try the two of them together on a line.
Giants forward Craig Peacock spoke about the different style of game in Cardiff compared to playing at home in Belfast.
“Games in Cardiff are always fast paced and the goalies face a ton of shots because the rink is smaller.
“We have to remember we have less time in open ice and less time to make a play, so we have to be talking out there on the ice and remember to shoot from anywhere,” he said.