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Key Play Breakdown: Getting By with a Little Help from our Frans

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Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Red Wings lost a shootout to a goalie who was making his NHL debut behind a team playing their second of back-to-back as Tampa looked like the fresher team by the game’s end. Whatever. It’s a loss to Tampa. you get used to those.

Speaking of things I could get used to, Frans Nielsen scored a hat trick. We’re going to take a look at his 2nd goal of the night.

The Setup

The play starts as Martin Frk and Christoffer Ehn (the duo only in because of Mantha and Bertuzzi being out) combine for a good forecheck to take the puck from JT Miller and create a scoring chance for Nielsen that Pasquale tracks and prevents a bounce-in shot from scoring. The Bolts get the puck out but not with enough control to transition, as Ehn pressures Miller into bouncing a puck across his own blue line that misses Killorn and ends up being pushed right back in by Frk tipping a Witkowski pass.

Frk follows up by chasing down Coburn in the corner and forcing him to try to dump it clear up the boards. Killorn can’t control it and Luke Witkowski jumps in to get along the boards and keep it in, bouncing the puck past Killorn where Nielsen picks it up at the top of the faceoff circle.

The Finish

Nielsen continues his momentum to the middle as he picks it up and gets open space created by Ehn being in good position to prevent Anthony Cirelli from interrupting him (and it’s not interference because Ehn didn’t have to materially change position from the path he was already on). With Sergachev still coming around from having positioned himself to be Coburn’s safer outlet option on the turnover, Nielsen has space to walk in front and rifle it past the glove.

Credit Where Credit is Due

Niklas Kronwall - Was on the ice when the goal happened. +1.

Christoffer Ehn - Good supporting work on the forecheck and good positioning to make space for Nielsen to get to the middle. He factors in positively just by doing the right thing when needed.

Luke Witkowski - Moving the puck back up ice quickly on the neutral zone turnover and then pinching on the dump-out attempt by Coburn earns him the assist on this goal. The pinch was appropriately-executed by he got kind of lucky the puck bounced how it did. Still a good play by Witkowski.

Frans Nielsen - Finds himself in the right spot to find the puck and takes it immediately to the center. He doesn’t try to get fancy and doesnt’ rush a shot on what has to be a very nervous goaltender. Beauty of a finish here.

Martin Frk - A really good forecheck by Marty Frk help create one scoring chance, then a good backcheck helps prevent Tampa from transitioning, followed by another really good forecheck to create the chance that Nielsen finishes. I’ve liked Frk’s hustle in the games he’s been in. He did make one really bad pass in his own zone in this game, but thanks to his work here, I’d say his overall contribution was positive.