I am going to try something I’ve never done before – actual analysis. I’ve decided to analyze Brenden Morrow’s goal against the Wings last night to make it a 2-2 game in the second period. If you haven’t seen the goal, or would just like a refresher, here it is (skip to about 1:10 to see the play develop and the goal):
Here’s the situation. Ericsson is on right defense and Kindl is on the left side. Datsyuk, Hudler, and Abdelkader are the forwards (assuming Helm had just changed for Datsyuk). Datsyuk has the puck along the right side boards and Hudler is coming up the middle. Abdelkader is up high near the boards, in good offensive and defensive position. Datsyuk then loses the puck along the boards (which sadly, has happened too often this year). The Stars begin to break out of their zone. Here’s where we’re at now:
Hudler and Datsyuk are caught deep, so Abdelkader assumes the role of center. The Dallas player has a step on Abdelkader, but Abby can still get in proper position. Ericsson and Kindl, out of frame, are in perfect position. This sort of play happens quite frequently, so nothing major…yet.
The next thing that happens is odd. Brenden Morrow, the eventual goal scorer, gets his stick on Abdelkader’s stick and knocks it out of Abby’s hands, as shown here:
After no penalty was called (probably should have been, but it’s not a huge deal), Abdelkader yells at the ref. He then has a crucial decision to make – go back in your own zone and defend or go to the bench for a stick (or change). This happened in the second period, so the bench is further away, making it more difficult to get a stick if you’re caught in your own zone. So, Abby decides to go to the bench. The problem: he is the third forward back, which basically acts like a defenseman. This leaves Ericsson and Kindl to defend the following 3 on 2:
Kindl does a good job of pressuring the Dallas player by the boards and taking away the cross ice pass. At this point, Ericsson recognizes that he has 2 players to cover due to the Abdelkader change. The Dallas player with the puck does the smart thing and dumps the puck behind the net past Kindl for Ribeiro (#63). Ribeiro picks the puck up and goes to the other side of the net. By this time, Hudler has just entered the defensive zone and goes right to the front of the net.
Problem: While Hudler is rushing to cover in front, Morrow sneaks off to the circle. Kindl is still with his man up top. Ericsson is forced to turn around and defend the puck carrier. He may not be aware that Hudler is back, so he doesn’t challenge very hard (a SMART decision) and takes the front of the net away. It’s impossible to block a pass in every direction, so blocking the front of the net is the most important. In regards to Hudler – while he did hustle to get back into the play, he did not get on his man. I’m not really blaming him, as he is not a natural center and he had another forward who originally had this responsibility. And, just like with Ericsson, taking away the front of the net is the first thing you do in your own zone.
What happens next? I won’t show another screen shot, but Morrow gets the puck and fires a shot past Howie (which yes, he probably should have stopped). But, he’s played really well all season, so he can have a squeaker every once in a while.
In conclusion, the following things happened to lead to this goal
- An offensive zone turnover from perfect positioning
- The third forward loses his stick and goes to the bench, leaving a 3 on 2 rush
- The Wings players cover the front of the net while the Dallas player sneaks out to the side
- A soft goal by Howard
Hope you all enjoyed this post. I enjoy the X’s and O’s of hockey, so this was fun to do. Until next time…