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Key Play Breakdown: Pettersson Gets Too Much Space

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Vancouver Canucks v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Detroit beat Vancouver in a shootout Tuesday night, but Red Wings fans also got a good look at the rookie phenom Elias Pettersson. Considering his five point night recently, holding him to just one isn’t all that bad. Even though his slapshot goal was a great shot, it seems Detroit could have kept the goal from happening.

The Setup

The play begins with a faceoff in Detroit’s zone. Luke Glendening wins it back to Jensen, who makes a pass up the boards towards Tyler Bertuzzi. He and Abdelkader force the puck into the zone, and Glendening goes behind the net where he receives a flip pass.

The Red Wings lose the puck at that point, and while pressure from Bertuzzi and Glendening keeps Vancouver from making a quick exit, but this is the beginning of what leads to the goal.

The Goal

Chris Tanev takes the puck behind the net and turns, putting the puck on his backhand. Glendening continues the pressure, and Bertuzzi comes in at a good angle, forcing Tanev to throw the puck off the glass to Nikolai Goldobin. Jensen pinches here, and knocks the puck free, ending up in the feet of Abdlkader. Abdelkader can’t control it, and Loui Eriksson picks it up and sends Pettersson in for the shot, which goes over Howard’s glove and just inside the post.

The Blame Game

Jensen: Mickey blamed Jensen for the pinch, but at least most of that blame is unwarranted. Because of the pressure by Glendening and Bertuzzi, along with Tanev having to make the pass on his backhand, it’s a good time for Jensen to pinch. He has Abdelkader behind him, as well as DeKeyser. Jensen got his stick on the puck, and created a chance for Detroit to gain possession.

Abelkader: Abdelkader is the easiest person to blame for this goal because he’s the one who loses the puck, which leads directly to the setup pass. It wasn’t an easy play, but he should have kept the puck away from Eriksson at a minimum. He definitely deserves some blame, but not as much as another player.

Glendening and Bertuzzi: It’s hard to put blame on the other two forwards. In slow-motion, it looks like you could say that they were a little late reacting to Abdelkader not having control of the puck, but neither one could have caught Pettersson or gotten back quickly enough to make a difference, even if they immediately realized Abdelkader wasn’t going to keep control.

Howard: He’s given up some very soft goals this year, but I don’t think you can put this one into that category. He has a good angle on Pettersson, and the rookie unleashes an absolute rocket.

DeKeyser: The lion’s share of the blame for this goal falls on a player you don’t see in these clips until the end. The overhead view shows why. DeKeyser is too far to his left for where the Canuck players are. Pettersson is easily the most dangerous player for him to be concerned with, yet he’s still moving to his left while Pettersson goes into the wide open space to his right.

The Red Wings coming back have time to pick up anyone who comes down the left side of the ice if he moves to Pettersson earlier, which is what he should have done. DeKeyser is too late reading the play, and is responsible for the majority of the blame on this goal.


Pettersson showed why he is one of the most exciting players in the NHL last night. Breaking down the blame here shouldn’t take away from the fact that it was a perfect shot. The problem for Detroit is that he shouldn’t have had that much space from which to unleash it.