Goal Analysis: Nyquist And Tatar Create Awesomeness In Grand Rapids


While the NHL season looks to be shorter and shorter every second, I’ve decided on some drastic steps.  As I mentioned in my latest post, I am no longer wearing or buying any Wings items.  I’ve also had a difficult time watching Wings videos on Youtube.  I love me some Hockey Porn, but yeah, it just pisses me off more than it helps me.

This leaves me in a difficult situation – how am I supposed to do the Goal Analysis all 4 of you readers have come to know and not totally hate?  Well, the AHL won’t have a lockout anytime this season.  Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar (after a brief stint in Slovakia(hopefully brief)) will be playing there, so I decided to break down a goal from the Griffins involving those two awesome players.  Obviously, the selection of AHL videos on Youtube is slightly less and the quality isn’t the best, but it gets the job done.  Let’s check out the goal and get to the breakdown!

Awesome.  You know the drill – time to break it down!

The puck worked its way down behind the net to the Milwaukee forward.  As you can see, he has a second to gather the puck and make a smart play.  But, he just throws it right out front as soon as he gets it.  Not a smart play (seeing that’s how most of the D League players on my teams play).  Smith and Nyquist are in front of the net ready to intercept the pass and go the other way.

Smith does his job and gets the puck before it gets to the forward in front of the net.  His momentum carries him towards the boards, where Johnson does an excellent job providing puck support, giving Smith an easy outlet pass to start the rush.  Notice – Milwaukee has two players by the net and a third skating up to pressure Smith.  BAM (source: some random commercial on while writing).

Smith smartly chips the puck off the boards to Johnson.  With three Milwaukee players caught, it’s a long-distance 3 on 2 for the Griffins.  You can see Tatar has already skated ahead and Nyquist turned on his burners and is now thinking GOALGOALGOAL.

So the Griffins are breaking up the ice with Johnson, Nyquist, and Tatar.  The Milwaukee defenseman on the bottom of the screen doesn’t realize it’s a 3 on 2 or he doesn’t know how to play defense.  He’s way too close to the boards, leaving too much room up in the middle for Nyquist.  Johnson makes the quick pass to Goose and it turns into a 2 on 1 with Nyquist and Tatar.  I like those odds.

Here’s the entry into the zone.  A good rule of thumb on a two on one is to pass the puck just after you entry the zone. Why?  Because the defenseman is trained to BLOCK THE PASS AT ALL COSTS, but he usually is still getting into position here.  In the picture above, the defenseman is a little too high up, but not in too bad of shape.  Nyquist has room to slip a pass over to Tatar to get both the goalie and the d-man moving, which will hopefully create some open lanes.

As soon as the defenseman reached over to Nyquist, Goose slid the puck across to Tatar.  Now Tatar has skated it and the defenseman in the middle goes to pressure him.  However, the defenseman now doesn’t have a good angle to block the return pass to Nyquist.  Nyquist also does the smart thing and goes towards the far post to hope for the easy tap-in.  What happens next?

BOOM.  This is the exact moment the pass from Tatar connects with Nyquist’s stick.  Awesome.  Great play by two future Wings.  Fandamntastic.  Let’s just make sure the puck went into the net, shall we?

Oh man.  This is the reason why I will hopefully be going to more Griffins games if the Stupid Lockout continues.  Stupid owners and players.  ANYWAY.  Let’s recap the goal:

  • The Milwaukee player had the puck but threw it out front of the Griffins net without looking
  • Johnson curled back and gave Smith a great opportunity to pass the puck and head up ice
  • Nyquist and Tatar busted their @$$es and got up the ice for the 3 on 2
  • The Milwaukee defenseman was slightly out of position and let Nyquist and Tatar in a 2 on 1
  • The other defenseman didn’t block either pass between Nyquist and Tatar
  • Nyquist and Tatar are freaking awesome and YOU CANNOT STOP THEM!

And there it is.  An awesome play from Smith, Johnson, Nyquist, and Tatar.  Love those guys.  You know the drill, if you have any suggestions for future Griffins goals to be analyzed, or if you want to share in some profanity-laced tirades, feel free to yell at me on the Twitter device (@KevinN37).  Until next time…

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