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Red Wings Key Play Breakdown: The shOTT Heard Round the World

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Detroit Red Wings Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Wings have won two games in a row! This time they even did it by extending rather than surrendering a lead. I know the opponent was Vancouver, a one-line team that’s not going to win many games this season, but the Wings needed to pull out a victory here and the way this game had been going since the end of the first, it was getting scarier and scarier waiting for an equalizer.

Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Instead, the Wings extended it to 3-1 and held on. Here’s the key goal.

The Setup

We start with the Wings retrieving the puck inside their own line at the end of a really good shift by Gustav Nyquist, whose backcheck turns it over and then whose pass springs Darren Helm in with speed. Helm knows he has plenty of time because the three Vancouver forwards had crashed the Wings’ zone and were caught. He also knows that his own teammates are changing behind him, so he carries it down the wall and turns back to make a bit of time for Ott to come on.

Ott sets position to get Edler off Helm momentarily to give him space, but Burrows comes in and forces Helm to pass off the wall back Ott’s way. At first, Ott is just making sure to tie up Edler, but he leans on the stick so much that he ends up winning the positional battle and can handle the puck enough to push it to the middle for a quickly on-rushing Glendening.

Glenny takes it on the backhand coming in quick against a flat-footed Stecher and Miller holding the near post. Glenny has them both dead to rights on a wraparound, but two things:

  1. lol it’s Glendening.
  2. Miller reaches out and slows down Glenny’s lead shoulder, which prevents him from being able to turn the far post.

Another key part of the early set of this play is Marchenko. He joins and jumps to the back post with Helm and then backs out in plenty of time to make sure that a turnover doesn’t create an odd-man rush. Without Marchenko jumping in to help, Stecher is free to double-up on Helm and keep the play from developing like it did.

After the Wrap-Around Attempt

Glenny recovers quickly from the heartbreak of not scoring a Larkinesque goal and resets to the point for Ericsson, who crosses to Marchenko, who initially tries a pass/shot to the slot for a deflection off of Ott (call me, Dr. Seuss). This is stopped by Baertschi before it can get past the hash marks.

The thing about the way this play has developed is that the Wings are moving quickly and with purpose. The little delays which give the defense time to get in perfect position aren’t there and as a result, the defense has to do a lot of adjusting side-to-side, which makes things a bit easier on the Wings.

The Finish

Baertschi stops the Ott redirect, but Glendening is moving and gets a swat at the puck to keep the defenders from getting to it, sweeping it back to the point. Marchenko wastes no time recognizing that the defense is both stretching out and still bunched up on one side of the ice. He immediately slides it across the blue line to Ericsson, who has a ton of room.

Ericsson smartly delays here to give Helm a bit of time to circle back into Ryan Miller’s kitchen, for Glendening to drag Stecher away from the slot, and for Ott to circle back around to fill that void left over. With Alex Burrows nowhere to be scene in the picture, the Canucks don’t have the manpower to defend this play.

Riggy winds up and delivers a low slap-pass directly to the blade of Ott’s stick and the redirect ends the thoughts of a Canucks comeback.

You’ll notice that Burrows isn’t even in that final .gif. If you want to see where he went, you have to go back to the 2nd one and see that he’s cheating for a breakaway on the first attempt to pass it into the middle. This gamble gives the Wings what is essentially eight seconds of power play time.

Bonus: The Slap-Pass that Wasn’t

As a bonus, the Wings had a chance to score on a slap pass about two minutes prior to this one, but Marchenko simply doesn’t see it develop. Shortly after the Wings’ power play expires, he gets a puck cleared to him at the point and tries to blast it through Miller without ever seeing that Tatar is positioned on the back door to have a slapper deflect right in off his stick.

Just goes to show that sometimes you’ve got to make the decisions super-quick and sometimes you’ve got to take a half-second to recognize your options. It’s all about pace.