NHL 23: Beginner’s guide to scoring – How to shoot & score goals, controls, and tips

A how-to guide for offense in NHL 23.

Image via EA Sports

It’s a new year of the NHL, as the hockey season is underway and NHL 23 is now out worldwide. The new game means a new year of trying to figure out the nuances of the Frostbite engine and trying to master it to your advantage. If you’re new to NHL 23, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s go over our beginner’s guide to scoring in NHL 23, including the controls and helpful tips.

Related: All Superstar X-Factor Abilities in NHL 23 – Full list and descriptions

NHL 23 Shooting and Skating controls

Before diving into the controls, we should something out very important. Much like in prior NHL games, you have three different control options: Classic NHL 94, Hybrid, and the Skill Stick. As far as this tutorial goes, we will focus on the Skill Stick controls. The reason for this is that not only is this set the recommended one, but it’s also arguably the most effective, and here’s why.

The NHL 94 controls are about as basic as you can get, while the Hybrid is a cross between the classic NHL 94 controls and the Skill Stick. The Skill Stick controls are advanced and more difficult to understand, but you will have better control of your players and can change your strategies and lines in-game. You won’t have these options at your disposal with the other two setups.

Now that we’ve gone over that let’s go over some of the controls you will need to know to skate and shoot in NHL 23. Keep in mind: these are the controls for the Skill Stick layout, which we do recommend.

MoveXB ControlsPS Controls
Skating/Shot & Pass AimL (Any direction)Left Stick (Any direction)
HustleLS (Press and hold)L3 (Press and hold)
GlideL (Release)Left Stick (Release)
Vision ControlLT (Hold)L2 (Hold)
Protect PuckA (Hold)X (Hold)
Wind Up + ShootR (Down) + R (Up)Right Stick (Down) + Right Stick (Up)
Fake ShotR (Down (Release))Right Stick (Down (Release))
Win FaceoffRight StickRight Stick
Desperation ShotRT (Double Tap)R2 (Double Tap)
Pass (Higher Strength)RT (Hold)R2 (Hold)
Saucer PassRBR1
Deke (Put puck on Backhand or Forehand)RS (Left or Right)Right Stick (Left or Right)
One Touch DekeL + LBLeft Stick + L1
Leg KickRS (Press and hold)R3 (Press and hold)
Dump PuckRB + R (Up)R1 + Right Stick (Up)
Chop PuckRS (Press and hold) + RR3 (Press and hold) + Right Stick
Quick PlaysD-PadD-Pad
Line ChangeB/XCircle/Square
Boardplay [Near Boards]Y (Hold)Triangle (Hold)
Reverse Hit/BraceAX

Now that we’ve taken a look at the controls, it’s time to go over what you need to know about scoring goals. Here are a few tips that could help you out in NHL 23.

Work on cycling

It’s important to work on that cycle game in NHL 23. Moving the puck around can be very useful against players who love to be aggressive with their user and don’t stay in one position. Successful cycling includes passing the puck around the boards, finding players open in space, and working the opposing team in order to move the puck into high-danger scoring areas, like the front of the net.

Don’t fall in love with one-timers

Don’t get us wrong, one-timers do work. But here’s the thing: you can’t fall in love with this kind of shot.

For those who may be unaware, a one-timer is a play in which the shooter releases the puck immediately after the pass. This motion includes gearing up for the shot before the puck is even on the stick. If you’re looking for how to do one, let’s go over the controls:

  1. While in possession of the puck, locate an open teammate.
  2. Press RT/R2 to pass to said teammate
  3. Shoot the puck immediately upon receiving the puck. You should be winding up to shoot before you even have possession of the puck. Or, you can just flick R/Right Stick up right before you get the puck for a one-timer.

One-timers were extremely useful in the old Ignite engine days of the game (i.e. NHL 15-NHL 21). Thanks to the new Frostbite engine and tweaks to the gameplay, defensive players pick up these plays a bit faster. This is especially true when trying a quick one-time play close to the net.

One-time shots do still work in NHL 23. However, it is important to try these plays either just in front of the slot or on the point with traffic in front. The latter part is critical, as a player in front can create a nice screen and make it very difficult for the goalie to stop.

Make sure to use the Vision Control pivots

If you go into an online game in NHL 23, you will see a lot of players using the Vision Control pivots. For those who need some clarity on this, this mechanic (LT/L2) is used very often, in order to quickly change directions without turning around, as well as used to shield the puck from the opposition.

Using LT/L2 with frequency can be a bit of an adjustment for those new to NHL, or for those who haven’t played in some time. Make sure to familiarize yourself with it, as it is important.

Don’t be afraid to shoot from outside of the slot

Going back to our second point, don’t get caught up with trying to shoot the puck in the high-danger scoring areas. Shooting from the boards and the point are important, as these shots will go in from time to time. More importantly, these shots can lead to rebounds and second-chance opportunities. Those, by and large, have a higher chance of making it into the net.