NHL 21: Comprehensive deking guide – How to perform dekes, controls, and tips for beginners

A full deking tutorial for NHL 21.

Beating opposing defenders in NHL 21 takes more than just using fast players. Breaking through a defense takes hockey smarts and some nifty dekes. Using dekes at the right time can help you get past some tough defensemen and forwards and help set up some nifty plays. And if you use the right deke at the right time, it can even help you put the puck right past the opposing netminder.

In NHL 21, there are various moves and dekes that you can pull off, ranging from simpler ones like a touch or slip deke, to more challenging ones like the Lacrosse (or Michigan) or the Kucherov (Fake Shot or No Shot). If you’re a newcomer to the NHL franchise, you may be wondering how to perform all these different dekes in NHL 21. We’ve got you covered, as we’ll go over all the controls you need to know, plus some tips on when you should use dekes.


First off, let’s go over two of the more simple controls you’ll need to know when performing dekes. For many of the dekes in NHL 21, you will have to know how to put the puck on your backhand and forehand. To put the puck on the forehand, shift RS/Right Stick to the right for right-handed shots, and vice versa for left-handed shooters. For the backhand, shift RS/Right Stick to the left for right-handed shots, and vice versa for left-handed shooters.

With that said, let’s go over the deke controls that you should know for NHL 21:

MoveXB1 ControlsPS4 Controls
Backhand-ForehandRS (Backhand control) + RS (Forehand control)Right Stick (Backhand control) + Right Stick (Forehand control)
Backhand Toe DragRS + RS (Down)Right Stick + Right Stick (Down)
Backhand Toe Drag FlipRS + RS (Down) + RBRight Stick + Right Stick (Down) + R1
Backhand Toe Drag ShotRS + RS (Down) + RS (Up)Right Stick + Right Stick (Down) + Right Stick (Up)
Backhand Toe Drag PassRS + RS (Down) + RTRight Stick + Right Stick (Down) + R2
Left-Handed One Hand DekeBackhand + LB + RS (Up and rotate to the left)Backhand + L1 + Right Stick (Up and rotate to the left)
Right-Handed One Hand DekeBackhand + LB + RS (Up and rotate to the right)Backhand + L1 + Right Stick (Up and rotate to the right)
Between-the-Legs ShotLB + RS + RS (Up)L1 + Right Stick + Right Stick (Up)
Between-the-Legs PassLB + RS + RTL1 + Right Stick + R2
Between-the-Legs Saucer PassLB + RS + RBL1 + Right Stick + R1
Slip Deke (Must be performed by boards)LBL1
Touch Deke (Loose Puck Deke)LBL1
Windmill DekeLB + RS (Left/Right)L1 + Right Stick (Left/Right)
Toe DragRS (Down and rotate to the left)Right Stick (Down and rotate to the left)
Spin-o-RamaLT + Forehand/BackhandL2 + Forehand/Backhand
Drop PassRB (Without LS)R1 (Without Left Stick)
Board-bank Self-pass [Near boards]LB + RTL1 + R2
Behind-the-Net Self–passLB + RTL1 + R2
Flip DekeBackhand/Forehand + LB + RTBackhand/Forehand + L1 + R2
Lacrosse Deke (Michigan)Forehand – LB (Hold) + RS + RS (Down and rotate to the right)Forehand – L1 (Hold) + Right Stick + Right Stick (Down and rotate to the right)
Stride DekeLB + LS (Left)/LS (Right)L1 + Left Stick (Left)/Left Stick (Right)
Fake Deke (Kucherov)Stride Deke (Forehand) + RS (Backhand)Stride Deke (Forehand) + Right Stick (Backhand)
Backhand Tap Back DekeRS (Right) + LB + RS (Left) + LS (Right) + RS (Right)Right Stick (Right) + L1 + Right Stick (Left) + Left Stick (Right) + Right Stick (Right)
Forehand Tap Back DekeRS (Down and rotate to the right) + LB + RS (Right) + LS (Left) + RS (Left)Right Stick (Down and rotate to the right) + L1 + Right Stick (Right) + Left Stick (Left) + Right Stick (Left)
Jump DekeLB + RS (Up)L1 + Right Stick (Up)
Skate Kick DekeLB + RS (Down)L1 + Right Stick (Down)
Through the Legs DekeLB + RS (Down and rotate to the right)L1 + Right Stick (Down and rotate to the right)
A general overview of the advanced deke controls in NHL 21. (XB1)

Tips for using dekes in NHL 21

As far as nailing dekes down goes, some of the more advanced more just simply take time to pull off. Doing a stride or touch deke, for example, will not be as hard as, say, a backhand tap back deke. To get better at performing the more complex dekes, our advice is to just simply practice. A good way to pull off dekes is to go to the game’s Practice mode and select Free Skate. Here, you will be able to practice these moves against a goalie, and you don’t have to worry about AI or human defenders messing up your rhythm.

Second, it’s important to point out that many of the advanced dekes used for attempting shots will simply just not work against AI goalies very often. As a matter of fact, it’s extremely difficult to pull the Michigan or the Kucherov on a computer goalie in general. Keep this in mind if you plan on playing a lot of Be a Pro, Online Versus, and HUT. While it might seem like a good idea to attempt one of these moves so you can put in your personal highlight reel, we recommend that you don’t attempt these types of moves in 1-on-1 or 1P action. Unless, of course, you don’t mind wasting a good scoring chance.

Third, we’d also like to point out that timing is everything when it comes to dekes. Ensure that when you are performing a deke, you do so when the opposing defender is close to you. Doing so will offer you a better chance at succeeding with it, especially if you’ve suckered the opposing skater into your trap.

Which dekes should you focus on using the most?

These are the dekes that we recommend you frequently use:

  • Touch Deke
  • Slip Deke
  • Toe Drag
  • Windmill Deke
  • Backhand-Forehand
  • Between-the-Legs Shot
  • Through the Legs Deke

As we’ve mentioned previously, the key when deking is to steer away from the more complicated maneuvers, since those plays have a low percentage of success. Keep it simple when using a deke, make sure that you perform one at the right time, and watch the opposing defender or goalie carefully. If the opponent seems to have one of your moves under raps, try a different deke and catch the opposition off guard.