Tonight the Preds will face off in a big game against the Western Conference rival Phoenix Coyotes. Less than two weeks ago, the Preds lost to the Coyotes in Phoenix, thanks in large part to a Scottie Upshall hat-trick.
In this edition of Anatomy of a Goal, lets examine how the hockey gods will spite defensemen who are out of position.The Video
The action starts with a Phoenix turnover in the offensive zone, with the Defenseman Ryan Suter (D, #20) bringing the puck in deep.
2. Patrick Hornqvist (RW #27) collects the bouncing puck. He has no immediate options with the puck, so he too passes backwards to defenseman Dan Hamhuis (D, #2).
3. The problem with Hornqvist's drop pass is that Suter is still deep in the offensive zone. He is, however, making a mad dash back toward where he is supposed to be, i.e. at the blue line.
4. Hamhuis receives the pass and attempts the shot. Notice that his shooting lane (in red) is full of traffic. This can be a good thing, as pucks tend to bounce through/in traffic and into the net. Also, goalies have a hard time seeing pucks through traffic. However, the odds of hitting someone, and thus turning the puck over are alot higher.
5. Hamhuis is the last man back, which makes the shot an ill-advised one. If Hamhuis and Suter were in position (at the LD and RD spots in blue), then taking the shot would be less risky. However, as Hamhuis is the "free safety" if you will (i.e. he is the last one back), he does not want to turn the puck over.
6. The play of the play. This is where the hockey gods spite Suter and Hamhuis for being out of position. Three really terrible things happen, all in this frame: (a) Immediately after the shot, "free safety" Hamhuis gets tripped (and no penalty is called), (b) the puck hits Suter and does not make it to the net, and (c) because the puck hits Suter, he turns around to try to find/play the puck. As a result, no defensemen are back playing defense.
Was this play just a rash of bad luck at the absolute wrong time. Did the tripping non-call sink the preds?Some might blame Suter for not getting back into position. Others might blame Hamhuis for taking an ill advised shot. Vote your opinion below. Whatever you think the culprit is, hopefully it won't reappear in tonight's rematch.