Thursday, November 28, 2013

Goal Analysis: Gustav Nyquist's NHL Return - Part 1

I'm thankful for Gustav Nyquist.

We all know he made his NHL return last week against Carolina and did ALL THE AWESOME THINGS.  Let's get our hockey nerd on and break down the first goal today.  We'll do the other one at a later time.  Because hockey.

Here's the video of the first goal:

So awesome.


It starts with the opening faceoff.  Nyquist is on the right wing with Hank at center and Mule on the left side.  Ericsson is the right side d-man with Kronner on the left.  Pretty standard set up.

Carolina wins the face off to their left side.  Nyquist forces the defenseman to throw the puck up the boards.  Again, nothing huge here as everyone is doing the proper things.

The Carolina d-man goes up the boards with Nyquist pressuring him.  The Carolina left winger doesn't cleanly handle the puck.  It could be because it's a bouncing puck from an odd angle, or it could be because Ericsson was stepping up and was ready to destroy him. Let's go with this theory.  You can see E stepping up on his guy before the red line.  This doesn't let the player dump the puck in, and if everyone is covered, there's a good chance for a turnover.  But, because the Carolina guy couldn't cleanly handle the puck, Big E gets it anyway.

Not much here.  Once Ericsson gets the puck, he hits Mule cutting across the middle.  Mule continues towards the boars and softly dumps the puck in the corner.  He knows that with himself and Nyquist on the same side, there's a better chance to recover the puck if it stays on that side.  This is important hockey knowledge.  Pass it on.

Okay, I guess I shall explain what F1, F2, and F3 mean here...

F1 - first forward in, his job is to put pressure on the D and force the puck along the boards.

F2 - his job is to take away the strong side boards since that's where the first outlet pass usually goes. (strong side means which side the puck is on and/or going towards)

F3 - he stays up high (usually between the top of the circles and the blue line) to make sure there aren't any odd-man rushes against.

Because Swedes are awesome, they know this, and play their roles perfectly.  Nyquist forces his guy to play the puck up the boards.  In the next shot, you will see Hank doing his thing and rocking the boards (and forcing another turnover).

Because of the pressure put on both Carolina players by Hank and Gus, the pass was again not a great one and the winger couldn't handle it cleanly off his skate.  Since Hank is awesome, he's about to pick up the puck and head to the net.  Look at both of the Carolina players on the top right - they're already heading out of the zone, expecting the puck to be cleared.  Wrong.  They will very soon all be out of position.  Turnovers are bad if they happen to your team.

So Hank takes the puck to the net with Nyquist also heading to the there.  One of the Carolina players hooks Hank, with the puck slightly coming off his stick.  This forces him to go back to the point.  This is where Big E comes in.  I'm not sure if he stepped up because he knows there is a penalty against or because he sees all 5 Carolina players well ahead of him, and with Mule playing F3 (up high), he knows there is coverage.  Big E just does what he can here to get the puck through to the net.

Okay, so Big E pulls a Quincey and gets his shot blocked.  Thankfully, Nyquist went to the front and the puck just sorta kinda happened to bounce right to him.  The puck is smart.  Justin Peters, the Carolina goalie, went down to block the Big E shot, so as he scrambles to face Nyquist, he's slightly out of position and such.  Nyquist uses this to create amazing things.

AAAAAWWWWWWW YEAH!!!  This goal was awesome to see live and I'm really happy I went to this game.  Nyquist is the best.

In summary:
  • The Wings had amazing positioning all throughout the play, from center ice and the forecheck
  • Carolina was not able to cleanly give/receive two passes
  • Franzen made the smart dump in for Gus to be able to follow the play
  • The blocked shot caused the goalie to be slightly off line and not in the greatest position
  • WOOOOO!!!!!
  • Nyquist didn't miss the net by 4,523 feet...this game
I'll break down Nyquist's second AND GAME WINNING goal in the near future.  Because hockey.

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