For the last couple months (since I figured out how to create GIFs), I have been posting 140 character or less takes on goals that the Capitals have either scored or given up on the Twitter. I am more than happy to take any requests on a non-goal play that someone has questions about, so feel free to make any requests. For now, let’s use the ability to post longer than 5-second videos to get some more detail in the explanations for the goals of Game One.
Penguins got a bit overaggressive here. A 4-on-3 is barely an odd-man rush, so there isn’t really a need to push the play. Andre Burakovsky makes a nice pick on the ill-advised pass by Evgeni Malkin, and the play goes the other way. A great net drive by John Carlson, a defenseman, pulls Brian Dumoulin all the way to the crease, so he is unable to react to the pass from Burakovsky to Chimera. Burakovsky pots the rebound.
Key Play: Burakovsky break-up of Penguins’ aggressive rush chance. Remember, those five feet on either side of each blue line are key. 1-0 Caps
Phil Kessel makes a nice chip play to Carl Hagelin, who patiently allows Nick Bonino to get into neutral. Now the Penguins have a 2-on-3. Justin Williams is canceling out Lovejoy, though he kind of gets sucked into the pile and doesn’t stay with him all the way, leaving Dmitry Orlov and Nate Schmidt to take Bonino. As Bonino fakes to the inside, both Orlov and Schmidt try to take him. Schmidt channels Scott Stevens, and Orlov collides with him.
There is no reason for Orlov to bite on the inside fake. He has both Schmidt and Williams to the inside. All he had to do was stay in front of him. Let him go inside, Schmidt is there. Heck, Williams was there too, allowing Lovejoy to get an easy tap-in on the rebound.
Key Play: Orlov bites on the inside fake. Some might say Schmidt, but if Orlov doesn’t bite, they never collide, and Bonino either gets trucked or Orlov breaks it up easily. If Schmidt doesn’t go for the hit, it is likely Orlov still gets beat. 1-1
There is no goal in this GIF because this goal was created 10 seconds before the puck actually went in the net. The Caps, John Carlson specifically, had two golden chances to get the puck out, and they (he) failed. They weren’t able to navigate those important five feet before the blue line safely (okay, maybe it was more like 10 feet here). There may not have been a better play available to Mike Richards or John Carlson here, but Burakovsky was there, and it looked like Chimera cross-ice had some potential. Either way, Carlson has to battle to get that out. He didn’t, and ten seconds later a freshly changed Malkin makes them pay with backhand shelf magnificence.
Key Play: Get it out of the zone. 2-1 Pens
This one is pretty simple. TJ Oshie forces a whiff by Olli Maatta at the point (in that five foot area). Oshie takes it down the ice and shoots high glove, catching Matt Murray off guard.
Key Play: The turnover by Maatta is big obviously, but the shot by Oshie while still skating may have tricked Murra. 2-2
This one may be my favorite, because it begins with a win in that five foot area. Nick Backstrom doesn’t get it out with the initial chip, but he stays with it and fights it out of the zone. TJ Oshie touches it back to Alex Ovechkin, who is off to the races. After the initial blocked shot, Ovechkin wisely makes the play over to Oshie. Maatta was caught flat-footed, and Murray lets in a bit of a squeaker.
Key Play: That pass from Ovechkin was nice, Backstrom getting it out as well, but I really liked Oshie’s path through the zone here. He splits that gap between Conor Sheary and Sidney Crosby down the middle not allowing either to put a stick on him. 3-2 Caps
This shows one of the Penguins stretch-pass set plays. Phil Kessel misdirects by cutting behind the net. Nick Bonino flashes up the near side boards and cuts to the middle. Carl Hagelin tips the puck over to Bonino, if he can, or at the very least they get a dump-in with a couple guys moving with speed to chase. Schmidt jumps the play a bit, not allowing Hagelin to do much with the puck. However, once in the zone, Backstrom fails to get it passed Kessel and out, and then can’t get his stick on the centering pass.
Key Play – Backstrom not getting it by Kessel is key. Burakovsky also misses the stick lift at the end. 3-3
Okay. Maybe this one is my favorite. It begins with Oshie and Backstrom winning in that five foot area. It ends with a great individual effort, and a win by a hair.
Key Play: Matt Murray missing the post on his push across the crease. 4-3 Caps Final
If you have a different take on a goal, please let me know in the comments.
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