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Key Play Breakdown: Athanasiou Scores with Non-Assist Assistance from Glendening, Abdelkader

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NHL: St. Louis Blues at Detroit Red Wings Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Wings will head into 2019 off a loss where they blew a three-goal lead and will have all of the first of the year to watch a boring outdoor game while thinking about how they let it slip away. However, since I don’t have FIlip Hronek to blame this loss on entirely, I’m going to go with a positive breakdown and show you the first goal of the game because it features several of my favorite things:

  • A Red Wings goal
  • A player with a critically-important play that doesn’t get credited on the scoresheet (TWO, even!)
  • Andreas Athanasiou breakaway speed
  • An opposing goalie getting his jock caught in the rafters

Take a look

The Setup

The play starts with Detroit icing Athanasiou with Abdelkader and Glendening playing in front of Kronwall and Witkowski. Unsurprisingly, this unit starts the play defending against a cycle in their own zone.

The Wings are doing a good job of keeping the Florida cycle to the outside and it pays off as a point shot looking for a redirect through traffic is blocked off to the corner where Athanasiou is able to jump down and poke it to Kronwall away from the forechecker. Kronwall is set upon by Brouwer immediately, but not before he plays it to Witkowski in the corner with a little bit of space before Jared McCann can pinch him off.

Witkoski accelerates the puck up the boards where Abdelkader is coming back into the zone to support just inside the blue line watched by Bogdan Kiselevich. Instead of stopping the puck inside his own zone, Abdelkader instead disrupts the defender’s stick to let the puck carry itself out of the zone. Without control of his stick, Kiselevich sees the puck bounce off his skate towards the middle of the ice into the neutral zone.

The Finish

As this play develops, Athanasiou picks up speed coming up out of his own zone from deep in the corner and is ready to step into the puck as it bounces his direction. The only thing between him and a breakaway is Mackenzie Weegar and Luke Glendening in position to disrupt the puck’s path to glory.

Fortunately, Glendening recognizes that AA is in a better position and instead of trying to make a play on the puck, dedicates himself to preventing Weegar from screwing things up. A well-placed (and uncalled) stick-slash by Glendening prevents the little fish from stopping the puck and AA is off to the races where he claims the official deed to Roberto Luongo’s unmentionables

Credit Where Credit is Due

I like everybody playing to his strengths here. AA is actively involved all over and using his mobility. Kronwall and Witkowski both make simple plays. Abdelkader and Glendening play their role by specifically NOT touching the puck. All five men are actively involved here and deserve credit.

But let’s see that deke again.