Goal Analysis: Jan Mursak


In continuing with my trend of analyzing first NHL goals, today we are going to look at Jan Mursak‘s first goal against the Avalanche.  This was a great play all around and it gives us plenty of things to review.  Here’s the goal:

Lots of stuff going on there in a short amount of time. Let’s break it down and fully understand the awesomeness that is Jan Mursak’s first NHL goal.  Here…we…go!

That’s right, I’m bringing back my awesome MS-Paint descriptions for this!  Oh yeah.  As for the play, the Wings had the puck in their own zone.  Kindl skated it to the red line and dumped it in behind the net.  Mursak enters the picture and looks to see where the Crapalanche player is going to go with the puck.  Have I mentioned that Mursak has fantastic speed?

Mursak uses said fantastic speed to force the defenseman to reverse the puck faster than he wants.  Also note that the Avalanche are changing here, so there are limited options for the defenseman to pass the puck.  This is one of the reasons you don’t change when the puck is in your zone.

Mursak uses his fantastic speed and forces the Avalanche player off of the puck.  Abdelkader comes in and provides excellent puck support.  The rest of the Wings, as well as the remaining Avalanche players, should be about finished completing their change and will join the play.

Abdelkader picks up the puck behind the net while Mursak works his way towards the crease.  You can see Rafalski has entered the zone.  Unfortunately, he does nothing else in relation to this goal, so I don’t know why I’m typing this.  You can see that all 5 Avalanche players are now in the defensive zone and in good defensive position. Abby has no play here, so it’s time to get creative.

Abdelkader has no play, so he sends the puck back to Big Johnny Ericsson.  Big E has an Avs player on him right away, so he is in the process of moving the puck back down low.  Drew Miller sees Big E come in to play the puck, so he stays back to cover the point.  Remember that.

Abdelkader picks up the puck after Big E sends it down low.  As you can see, there is a clear lane from where Abby is to where Miller is.  Hmm, I wonder what is going to happen next?

Yep, Abby gets the puck to Miller who smartly one-times it towards the net.  Remember how earlier I said that Mursak was making his way towards the crease?  That is going to be important here in a second.

The shot from Miller is saved but the rebound ends up right on Mursak’s stick.  Thankfully, he’s one of the few right-handed shots on the Wings, so he has a good chance to move the puck to his forehand and slam it home.  Ohhh yeah.

I may have taken this screen shot from the replay so we could get a clearer look at the awesomeness that is Mursak’s first career NHL goal.  We’re all okay with that, right?  Right.  Let’s summarize this goal, shall we?

  • Mursak initiated the play by using his speed and forcing the Avs d-man off the puck
  • Abdelkader provided excellent puck support down low
  • Ericsson read the play and was able to get the puck back down to Abby
  • Miller made a great heads up play to cover Big E’s spot
  • Mursak slammed home the rebound for his first goal

What a great play.  All of that happened in less than 15 seconds.  And did you know Mursak’s only other NHL goal was very similar?  Take a look:

He really should patent that play.

I hope that Mursak gets more of an opportunity to play this season.  I know he doesn’t exactly have hands, but his speed cannot be denied.  He’s like Helm only he’s right-handed!  Give Mr. Mursak a little more experience and I think he could be a great 3rd or 4th liner in the NHL.  Just have to see what happens when the Wings get down to 14 forwards.

You know the drill – yell at me on the Twitter device (@KevinN37) if you think I screwed something up on this post, or, more importantly, you have a suggestion for a future goal you wold like to see me break down.  I love doing these posts, so if you guys want, maybe I can do two a week during the summer/forever?  Let me know your thoughts.  Until next time…