Wednesday, December 21, 2011

GBGA Regular Season Game 33: Sister Act

This is what happens when you don't vote for Jimmy on your All Star ballot.

1st Period

Vancouver 1 Detroit 0; 9:36- Higgins from Raymond & Bieksa
The two circled players are the defensemen. Technically speaking, their job is not to allow players past them. That's pretty simple. Something like, for example, a stretch pass to a player behind the defense would be bad. That's exactly what happens here, and now there's a breakaway opportunity. 
Ian White somehow gets back enough to almost make a play on the puck carrier, but not quite enough to impede his shot. The circled player in red is Kronwall, and the circled player in blue is Higgins. Kronwall needs to stay aware of his coverage instead of watching the shooter in front of him. It's his responsibility to make sure Higgins is covered, because you never know when there could be a rebound.
Oh look, there's a rebound. Higgins gets to the rebound first and knocks it in. Kronwall looks like he's falling away from the play and can't do anything to break it up.

Vancouver 2 Detroit 0; 9:57- Hodgson from Hansen & Malhotra
White has the puck and is about to carry it into the offensive zone when he has the puck poked off his stick. The puck is moved up the boards to an open Hansen. Hodgson turns up ice as soon as the turnover occurs and is uncovered in the middle of the ice.
Helm almost gets into the passing lane but is about a half second too late to cut off the pass to Hodgson. Lidstrom is the last man back, but is covering a lane instead of the middle of the ice. If Lidstrom is in the middle he can neutralize Hodgson's shot attempt.
Hodgson has a completely unimpeded shot. This isn't a soft goal by Howard, but it's painful to give up two this quickly this early in the game.

Vancouver 2 Detroit 1; 13:46- Bertuzzi (4) from White (12) & Datsyuk (24)
Pavel has plenty of room to make a play with the puck on the half boards. There's no one behind the net, but he has a pass and a shot option available. Dats moves it to White at the blueline, who snaps a shot on net. Note that Luongo is already on the ice, as Bert pushed Salo into him at the onset of the play.
Bertuzzi tap in the rebound past a still-flopping Luongo. While Bertuzzi got away with one at the beginning of the play, he does a good job of keeping position on his defender after the rebound comes loose.  

Vancouver 3 Detroit 1; 15:40- Burrows from Sedin & the other Sedin
The Canucks again get a nice breakout pass through the neutral zone. Thing 1 receives the pass and Stuart steps up on him. This sets a pick and Thing 1 and Thing 2 exchange the puck. Kronwall is moving towards the boards to meet him.
The exchange isn't clean and the puck just sits there for a second. Kronwall has to put on the brakes and try to compensate for skating too far towards the boards. He can't adjust before Thing 2 puts a shot on net.
Burrows is in all alone behind the defense and tips the shot past Jimmy. 

2nd Period

Vancouver 3 Detroit 2; 16:20- Miller (7) from Helm (8) & Cleary (9)
Cleary turns and moves down in the zone. Helm sees a seam between defenders and passes. It isn't on target, but the puck goes off the boards and Cleary picks it up and carries towards the blueline. 
Helm is open in the middle of the ice and Cleary gets a pass across for Helmer to one time. Miller tips Helm's shot past Luongo and pulls Detroit a bit closer. Vancouver's defense looks passive here. From their soft coverage in the middle of the ice to their inability to move Miller from the front of the net, they just look slow.

3rd Period

Vancouver 4 Detroit 2; 3:30- SHG Edler from Hansen
Zetterberg tries to carry the puck into the offensive zone and gets mugged. With the puck stolen, the Canucks turn the other way and are off to the races. As Hansen cuts netfront he feels Zetterberg behind him. Replays show that Z barely touched him, but Hansen lives up to the Canucks reputation as divers and bowls over Howard. The play should end here. It doesn't.
Edler benefits from the ref's mistake, backhanding the loose puck over Howard for the goal. Lidstrom doesn't have time to turn and defend, so it doesn't look like he made a coverage mistake here. This goal shouldn't have happened, but here's hoping that it bring increased attention to the knocks Howard has been taking that have gone uncalled.

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