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Goal Analysis: Gustav Nyquist’s First NHL Goal


All four of my readers and twitter followers know that I am the biggest Gustav Nyquist supporter in Red Wings land.  It started at Training Camp when I watched him in practice and such and you could just tell.  During preseason, Nyquist showed that he was really good at playing hockey.  This led to numerous people reporting that he could make the team out to start the year.  As we all know, he was sent down to Grand Rapids, and after a few call ups and only getting some assists, he finally scored his first NHL goal!  I was at the Joe to witness it, and nothing about it was less than spectacular.

I’m going to copy off of Justin Bourne from Backhand Shelf and his Systems Analyst posts (which are the greatest things ever…besides his Whiteboard posts (hopefully, that praise avoids a lawsuit )) and go through and analyze the awesomeness that was that goal.  I’ve done this before when I wrote for my own site that nobody read (check it out here).  Hopefully, this will be fun and educational and we can all marvel at the wonder that is Gustav Nyquist (…and, you know, Pavel Datsyuk…dayam).  Here we go!

Brief setup:  Nyquist was playing wing on a line with Datsyuk at center and Todd Bertuzzi on the other wing.  This line has been together for a couple of games, giving them some time to form decent chemistry (though I think Datsyuk could have great chemistry with an actual winged wheel, but I digress).  The goal was scored 5:35 into the game when the score was 1-0 in favor of the Wings, so it was by no means a “garbage time” goal.  Before I try and break down what happened, let’s watch the goal again in all its awesomeness:

And now, the analysis!

The screenshot is a little blurry, but it gets the job done.  Here, we have Bertuzzi in front of the net, Datsyuk on the boards, and Nyquist at the top of the circle shooting the puck.  The puck gets deflected off a defender and goes into the corner.

Bertuzzi and a Columbus defender go into the corner battling for the loose puck.  Thankfully for Wings fans, Bert is a machine and wins the puck battle.

Bert collects the puck in the corner while the Columbus defender goes to the ice.  Bert turns up ice.  Normally, the player would pass the puck to the point or cycle it back down low – notice how Nyquist goes behind the next.  But…when the Wings are on their game, good things happen.

Bert sees Datsyuk all alone in the middle of the rink and will get him the puck.  As you can see, all four Columbus players in the picture are looking at Bert, completely ignoring Nyquist, and, you know, PAVEL DATSYUK.  Maybe that’s why they are in last place…

Normally, Datsyuk would probably shoot the puck, but the pass is too far behind him.  But because he’s Pav, he notices Nyquist skating towards the net.  He also has three Columbus players closing in on him.  So, Pav does what Pav does.

YOU SPIN ME RIGHT ROUND BABY RIGHT ROUND LIKE A RECORD BABY.  That’s right, Pav spins around to create space for himself and change the passing angle to my boy Nyquist, who is slowly but surely getting to the front of the net.

It’s hard to see in the screenshot, but the puck is about a foot away from Nyquist’s stick here.  Steve Mason, thinking Pav was going to smoke him with a backhand, played the shot.  Oops.  So, what happens next (besides a big smile on my face)?



Okay, so let’s do a quick recap here.  Bertuzzi wins the one-on-one puck battle in the corner.  Instead of passing the puck to the point or going down low, he sees Pav.  The pass is a little behind Pav, so he collects it, spins, and dishes a perfect pass that Nyquist taps in.  Awesome.  It also helps that the Columbus players all just decide to look at the puck instead of covering people, but hey, we’ll take it!

And that’s my analysis of Gustav Nyquist’s first NHL goal!  Like what you see?  Would people like me to do more of these (because they are fun do to!)?  Yell at me on Twitter and I’ll do more of these!  Being a hockey nerd rules.