Monday, November 11, 2013

Goal Analysis: Adam Almquist's First NHL Goal

You know the drill: A Red Wings player scores his first NHL goal, then I break it down so we can see exactly how it happened.  Our latest "first NHL goal" was scored by Adam Almquist (or Almqvist, but he's going by Almquist here, so that's what I'm going with).  And yes, he's Swedish, because obvious.

Let's check out the video below:

Thanks to Sanjay Sharda ( @Weallbleedredd (here is his YouTube Channel and you're going to want to subscribe))

I freaking love when a player scores his first NHL goal, especially when the player happens to play for the Wings.  Let's start the breakdown, shall we?

The puck goes into the Wings zone.  Almquist is the first player back, and takes it behind the net.  His teammates come back to support him (Quincey on the left and you can see Hank skate to the right side in the video).  The Dallas forward applies pressure, so Almquist gives the puck to Quincey in stride as he moves toward the neutral zone.

The same Dallas forward skates and applies pressure to Quincey, so KQ passes the puck up to Bertuzzi on the left side.  The rest of the Dallas players in the picture are in proper position.  #12 is pressuring the puck carrier (Bert), Whitney (13) is taking away the center, and the right d-man is there in case Bert gets around the forward.  With two guys in his way and no direct passing lane, Bert looks to get to the red line and dump the puck in (ideally, #12 for Dallas would be a step back to prevent Bert from reaching the red line).

Bert hits the red line and tries to flip the puck into the far corner, where Hank is skating.  Bert doesn't get all of the puck, and ends up flipping it to the D-man circled above.  The D-man gloves the puck down instead of catching it and playing it.  I'm guessing he was trying to get the puck past the blue line (patrol ZING!!) but he did not.  Bert is just out of the picture, but he's skating with good pace and will be the first player to get to the puck.

Bert gets the puck, skates into the high slot, and attempts to put a backhand on net.  Apparently, Bert is trying to pass the puck to that Dallas defenseman, since he blocked the shot. Things don't usually change, however, and he once again leaves the puck in front of him.  Bert continues his forward momentum and forces the puck into the corner.  It should be noted that again, Dallas is in proper position here, with all 5 guys in their own zone.  Now is when Dallas needs to sort out coverage and it should be easy (in theory) to keep the Wings to the outside or force a turnover.

Bert has the puck in the corner.  #4 on Dallas is covering Hank out front (no sense in chasing him behind the net).  #3 has Bert.  #13 Should be watching the high slot/point.  One of #12/20 have to cover the slot/center and the other needs to cover the point since Bert is not in a scoring area.  Bert knows he has two guys on him at the moment, so he cycles the puck down low, where Hank is waiting for it.

Hank receives the pass from Bert.  The Dallas defenseman gets semi-caught chasing the puck here.  He does catch up to Hank and forces him to stay wide.  Whitney (13 on DAL) is supposed to cover the point man on the Wings right side, which is Almquist.  In this shot, it's obvious that he's focused on Hank and the puck.  Hank I get; he's beautiful, but the puck is nothing special.  This is about the time when Almquist is sneaking into the slot...

Yep.  Whitney assumed that his coverage responsibility (Almquist) would just be hanging out on the point. As he turns to cover where Almquist usually would be, he seems kind of shocked that the puck is going behind him because every other Star has a guy covered and oh crap for Whitney.

Whitney reaches out to try and block the shot, but too late. Mr. Almquist just snuck around an old dude and ripped the shot for his first NHL goal.  Awesome.

Nothing much to see here, just really love this angle.  It kind of emphasizes earlier things, like how everybody on Dallas is in great position outside of Whitney, and Hank is so good that he found the super small Swedish d-man.  Sweden is the best.

Let's review, yes?
  • The Wings have a great breakout, from Almquist to Quincey to Bert in order to gain the zone
  • Bert has good speed and was a puck hound on this shift
  • The Dallas d-man twice blocked the puck but couldn't gain control
  • Hank is amazing and had the vision to see Almquist out front
  • Ray Whitney lost coverage and left his guy open for an awesome goal

Awesome.  Hope you enjoyed.  Per usual, yell at me ( @KevinN37 ) on the twitter if you have any comments or suggestions for future posts. Then follow Michelle (@Slapshotg0al) and the @BlueLinePatrol account.  Until next time...


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