Goal Analysis: Darren McCarty 1997 Stanley Cup Game Winning Goal

Darren McCarty Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

June 7th, 1997.  The day that 42 years of Red Wings frustration went out the window partially thanks to Darren McCarty.  I was only 13 at the time, so I didn’t have a great grasp of what this championship drought meant.  Having lived and been a part of four Stanley Cup Championships for my team, I have come to greatly appreciate what most fans felt 15 years ago today.

Let’s relive some of that magic and break down the Flyers breakdown (see what I did there?) on Darren McCarty’s game winning goal in game four.  First, let’s take a look at the video of the goal:

Awesome.  Just…awesome.  Let’s start breaking down the play!

(Yeah, I’m labeling things in Paint again…deal with it)

We have an offensive zone faceoff.  Sandstrom, Yzerman, McCarty are the forwards, Vladdy and Nick are on the blue line.  Pretty standard stuff.

Usually, a 3 on 2 is a bad thing to give up.  However, with Vladdy and Nick being the two, the Flyers probably just should have dumped the puck in and changed.  So I don’t have a million screenshots, Nick stopped the pass across and Yzerman carried the puck across the blue line, which leads to this:

The Wings are in good defensive position here.  Three guys are back with a fourth up high.  The Flyers dump the puck into the far corner.  What happens next?

Vladdy beats his guy in the corner and works the puck up the boards.  Here, Yzerman races towards the puck and will get into a puck battle with some pylons.  Great puck support by 19.

Tomas Sandstrom comes back to help out Yzerman along the boards (puck support FTW!).  McCarty is now lurking by the blue line.  The Flyers d-man at the top right of the screen is holding the blue line, giving McCarty plenty of  ice to get open and receive a pass.

After Sandstrom gets McCarty the puck, Mac has a one on one with a Flyers defenseman.  I’d bet the Flyers player half let his guard down just for one second because it wasn’t Fedorov or Yzerman coming in on him.  Mistake.

This is the exact moment where the Flyers defenseman realized he done lost his jock strap.  He got caught flat footed while staring at the puck. Mr. Darren McCarty does a nice little move to get the puck by the d-man to go in alone against Hextall.  We all know what happens next:

BAM!  Mac freezes Hextall and taps it in the open net.  What a goal.  That goal, my friends, got rid of 42 years of misery for Red Wings fans.  Just amazing.

To summarize:

  • Nick and Vladdy will destroy you on a 3 on 2
  • Great puck support by Yzerman and Sandstrom in the defensive zone
  • McCarty had plenty of open ice and Sandstrom got him the puck in stride
  • Mac pulled the move of his life and completely owned the Flyers

I know Mac has had some issues in recent years, but man, I think I could watch this goal all day every day.  My boss might not like it, but hey, a happy worker is a better worker, right?  Anyway…

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