Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Anatomy of a Goal: Out Hawking the Hawks

If I say to you that a long bomb pass through an open neutral zone results in a game winning goal, would you expect that the shooter was Chicago's Patrick Kane, or Nashville's David Legwand.  Well, reset the Legwand 'Meter, so it must be the latter!

This goal is a great example of  a lightening fast transition game by Nashville, and a defense by Chicago  that does not play a Nashville style "Trap".  Its a much better, and differing picture, than game 2's long bombs.  The result, a two-on-one breakaway and a Legwand game-winning goal.

Want to see Chicago's reaction to the game, click here.

The Video

The Breakdown

The play is in the Preds' defensive zone.  Notice first the excellent positioning by the Predators.  Every player is exactly where they need to be.

1.  LW Smithson collects the puck along the boards.  He is going to move toward the net away from the pressure, and collect the puck.  Chicago does not keep up the forecheck, but instead accepts the turnover and starts to transition back to defense.  LW Smithson will make the cross ice pass once the pressure lets up.

2.  Well, Chicago may start to transition, but C Legwand and RW Sullivan bust it down ice.  This aggressive play was not typical of Legwand's line during the regular season, but I'm glad to see it.

3.  The D Man (I think its Weber, but Its hard to tell from the Video: EDIT, its Klien, thanks to Shlimmy for pointing that out.) makes a great pass under amazing pressure from Chicago.  The pass is definitely of the long bomb variety.

4.  Here is another view of the pass.  Again, notice the pressure on the Preds' D.  Notice also how much open ice there is.  This is not a picture you saw very often last night, when the Preds were on defense.  The Preds did such a wonderful job of clogging the neutral zone.

5.  The great thing about this pass is that it catches up to Sullivan, who is skating full speed.  Also, the pass is banked off of the boards, before it gets to Sullivan, so that the odds of it getting turned over are far less.  [The football comparison here is a QB putting a football on a WR's, say, outside shoulder, if the defending CB is on his inside shoulder.]

6.  Sullivan has half a step on the Chicago defender.  He does not quite have the puck in a shooting position, though, so a pass to Legwand makes perfect sense.  Notice that if the Chicago defender chasing Legwand is one or two steps closer to the play, he could get in the passing lane and shut down the play.  No such luck for the Hawks, though.  Speed is so important, especially in the playoffs.

7.  Sullivan makes a perfect pass, forcing Neimi to shift from left to right quickly.  Legwand has half a net to shoot into, and he doesn't miss.  The result is a game winning goal, and 00:00:00 on the Legwand O'Meter.  Go Preds!

The Poll


  1. Its actually Klein who makes the long pass!

  2. Thanks for the heads up there. I made the changes, and gave you credit. Good Catch.

  3. I voted for "Weber," even though Kevin Klein made the perfect bank-pass to Sully.

  4. The LW is Ward. Great write up on the goal...I love these.