Tuesday, May 31, 2011

11 for '11 Game 5: Lidstrom's first hat trick

If you haven't seen it yet, the Red Wings' official blog posted the top 11 games of the 2010-11 season over an 11 day span. I loved the idea and thought the list was great, but their three paragraph game recaps weren't cutting it for me. Over the next five days (if I can stay on schedule, which isn't very promising given my previous track record) I'll be posting in depth analyses of the top 5 games of the year.

With few things that haven't been accomplished, Nicklas Lidstrom was able to check off one more first this season on Dec. 15 against the Blues at the Joe. Lidstrom scored the first hat trick of his career, and with goals of such import I feel that those are the only ones that need to be broken down for this entry. That, and it's a lot quicker to just ignore the other Wings goals and all of the goals the Blues scored.

Lidstrom goal 1: 4:02 2nd period- Lidstrom (5) from Zetterberg (20) and Datsyuk (26)

The play starts with a nice breakout pass from Lidstrom through the neutral zone to Zetterberg. As Zetterberg and Holmstrom enter the offensive zone they criss-cross.

The trailing defender picks up Holmstrom, but the two defensemen both take Zetterberg.

Lidstrom jumps into the play and is completely undefended on the right side. He rips a slapshot from just above the right faceoff circle that beats Halak.

Lidstrom goal 2: 2:46 3rd period- Lidstrom (6) from Zetterberg (22) and Rafalski (16)

We pick this one up with Rafalski controlling the puck near the blue line. Tightly defended, he passes to Zetterberg along the sideboards.

All 4 Blues defenders are watching Zetterberg, with the highest defender playing at the top of the right faceoff circle. This leaves a huge open area near the blue line for the Wings point men to camp out in.

Zetterberg feeds Lidstrom just inside the blue line, and Lidstrom rips one past Halak. Backes tried to make up for lost ground and persue Lidstrom but to no avail, as there was too large a gap for him to close before Lidstrom could release a one-timer. As per usual, Holmstrom is in front of the net screening the hell out of Halak, which contributed greatly to this goal.

Lidstrom goal 3: 19:30 3rd period- Lidstrom (7) from Cleary (9) and Zetterberg (23)

The play begins with Zetterberg skating hard down the left side towards the Blues’ open net. He passes to an open Dan Cleary, who has a few steps on his defender.

The puck is never settled and hops across the ice. Cleary doesn’t have a good enough handle on the puck to get a shot off, and he instead has to turn it hard up ice.

Cleary has Lidstrom open at the blue line and passes it up to him. Lidstrom sets and slaps a perfectly placed shot through all six St. Louis defenders.

Empty netter or not, it’s the captain’s first career hat trick.