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Detroit Red Wings Goal Analysis: The Turnover that Turned the Game

By now, you've probably seen the Justin Abdelkader game-winner at least a dozen times. What a beautiful play to get the deciding goal in a game that decidedly wasn't really going the Wings' way last night. For many of us, we just knew when Pavel Datsyuk entered the zone against Brooks Orpik and three of his friends that things were going to be magical from there. Corey Masisak summed it up pretty well in this Tweet though:

But what's not quite as obvious as that play turning into an Abdelkader one-timer through Braden Holtby was that this play had a really good chance of being the deciding goal thanks to a Russian superstar one way or another. Let's go back before the Dangle Magic takes over and recognize that Henrik Zetterberg defuses an atomic bomb with his stick at center ice. Take a look.


That's John Carlson trying to beat the neutral zone trap with a cross-ice pass to Alex Ovechkin streaking up the left wing side. Even more deadly is that Nicklas Backstrom is trailing in Ovechkin's wake. The final straw is that if you take a look at the few frames featuring Jonathan Ericsson, you'll notice that there's a pretty decent chance the angle he's already on is going to end with him getting blown past if Ovechkin collects the Carlson pass in full-stride. Even if Ericsson is able to get the angle on Ovechkin, Kronwall is going to have his hands full with Backstrom there to receive a drop pass.

Fortunately, we have a Zetterberg and he calmly bats this puck out of mid-air and deftly just pushes it forward for a looping Pavel Datsyuk to enter the Caps' zone with the same kind of pace that Ovechkin would have had going across Detroit's blue line. The Caps can't recover and that's all she wrote.

(Ok, she wrote another 9 minutes and 26 seconds' worth of game time and another Red Wings goal into the mix, but shut up. Let me have this one.)