Game five of the 2009 Western Conference Final was awesome, mostly because of Darren Helm. First, there was the best penalty kill ever (see the video plus my breakdown here). Let’s now look at Helm OT goal that sent the Wings to the Cup Final.
Here is the video of the goal followed by the breakdown:
Of course, why wouldn’t stupid Samuelsson be out there for this one? Anyway…let’s break down the goal and see why it happened. HELM!!!
Pretty standard faceoff formation…except for the fact that Lebda is out there in OT in the playoffs and Samuelsson exists in a Wings uniform. Ignoring these facts, nothing out of the ordinary here.
Helm, with the help of Homer, wins the faceoff back to Rafalski at the right point. Raffi doesn’t have a clear lane, so he gets the puck down low to Helm, who is not being watched by the defensive center (typically, in even strength faceoffs, the defensive center stays with the offensive center if the offensive team wins the faceoff).
Helm still thinks he’s on the penalty kill and ninjas around the Hawks player. If you’ll notice the Hawks – they’re ALL looking at Helm. Yeah, Helm’s cute, but they are not worrying about anybody else (although, given the choice of covering Samuelsson or Helm…). Okay, so what does stone-hands Helm do next?
Sadly, the Hawks player knocks the puck away from Danger. The good news is that all five Hawks players are down low and Rafalski/Lebda are wide open on the point just in case the puck goes there. Foreshadowing. My 9th grade English teacher would be proud.
Yep, the puck finds its way back to Lebda on the left point. He moves towards the boards since the Chicago player pressures rather quickly. Samuelsson sees this and comes to the boards to give Lebda another option. I hate saying this, but it’s a smart play by Samuelsson…ow. Moving on…
Sammy gets pressured quickly by two players, so he quickly gives the puck back to Lebda. The Hawks are still in “Ooh let’s watch the puck!!” mode. With the two players on Sammy, both Wings defensemen are open. Lebda has the option to get the puck down low, to Rafalski, or get a shot on goal. What does he do?
Can’t really tell by the picture, but he takes a shot on goal. The puck gets saved and the rebound gets by Homer. Helm has a quick chance to pick it up before he gets checked by the guy right behind him. BURY IT HELM!
Oh Helm. He tried pulling a move and got knocked down. As you can see, in this situation, the Hawks again go full “chase the puck” and collapse down low. It’s probably a good move here since the goalie is down and the Wings have a chance to end their season. So while they have a tendency to follow the puck, here, it’s a good move.
Once again, the puck comes back to the point. Rafalski gets it, but does have a little bit of pressure. As you can see, he has the Chicago player coming at him towards the top of the circle, plus a virtual soccer wall down low. There is no way he can get the puck through. Think of this the next time you’re at the game and sitting right behind me and yelling “SHOOOOOOT!!” every time somebody has the puck ever. DON’T BE THAT GUY! Without a clear lane, it’s a bad play. If the guy close to the d-man blocks it, it could lead to breakaway the other way. Just saying.
Rafalski quickly slaps the puck to Samuelsson. Sammy was looking to one-time it, but the pass was too far in front of him to do that. Rafalski knew that Sammy would just shoot the puck way wide and possibly injure a small child. Not a missed pass by Raffi, a GREAT PLAY by Raffi. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Sammy drags the puck around for a second and draws two Hawks players on him. This leaves Lebda open and is basically a carbon copy of a few pictures ago. And, I’m thinking Lebda is going to do the same thing as last time and get a shot on net so we can end the Blackhawks season!
Lebda shoots wide (unsure if on purpose). Thankfully, as Pierre McFrigginGuire always tells us, Joe Louis Arena has really bouncy boards! The puck goes right in front of the net, so Homer tries his best to whack it in the net. He doesn’t quite get it in, but he does get it across the front of the net, where a young, fast player is wide open and waiting.
To quote my friend Jason right now: Boom. But since this isn’t a great look at the goal, let’s see another angle and get lost in the awesomeness that is beating Chicago in OT to end their season.
Yes. Yes. 1,000 times YES!!! Awesome. Sadly, it was nowhere near as good as Helm’s penalty kill earlier in the game, but hey, it still rocks. I think it’s safe to say Helm earned that number one star in this game!
Let’s do a recap:
- Helm started the play by winning the faceoff back to Raffi with the help of Homer
- The Hawks enjoyed watching whichever Wings player had the puck
- Lebda and Rafalski did a good job of keeping the puck in and getting it to the net when necessary
- Samuelsson didn’t screw anything up
- The Hawks really enjoy scrambling around in their own zone and not covering anybody
- Homer did his job after the bouncy boards were plenty bouncy
- Even Helm’s (lack of) hands couldn’t miss from 6 inches away
WOO! And this concludes the Darren Helm analysis from game 5 of the 2009 WCF. If you have any thoughts or just want to yell at me, find me on the twitter (@KevinN37) and have at it. Until next time….