A highly requested feature from last season that many of you mentioned in the S7 reader poll was tactical breakdowns of goals, goals against, and Sens plays from the season. I call this goal: "Erik Karlsson is special"
It all starts after a blocked shot in the Senators goal. You'll see at the very left, in front of Craig Anderson, is Marc Methot, who was in correct position to clear the puck to the current puck-carrier, Erik Karlsson. Two Blue Jackets are behind the play already and aren't going to catch up, where another #Lumbus player is starting behind Erik Karlsson.
Here's what I mean - the player who was initially circled is now way behind the play, and Karlsson has dished the puck off to Hoffman, who's currently at centre ice. This is very much an impromptu play, with Zibanejad at RW a la his Gold Medal winning goal for the Swedish World Junior team.
Entering the zone with speed is super important, as despite proper gap control by Prout and Tyutin, Karlsson and Zibanejad back them off. Hoffman eventually dishes the puck over to ZIbanejad, who gains room on the outside with his long, lanky reach to get past Tyutin, and sends a slow moving pass over to Erik Karlsson... except he's far away! There's no way he can get that, right?
Welp. That situation changed quick. Tyutin had already bitten to Zibanejad so that Hoffman is still open, and Karlsson's burst of speed allows him to separate from Prout so that he can handle the bouncing pass from Zibanejad and get a shot attempt off against Bobrovsky.
Whoa, a lot changed here. The puck ended up on the left side of the rink, and Columbus looks like they're in good position again. Tyutin is drifting a little, but Prout is on Karlsson and a forward is on Bobby Ryan, who flew off the bench to retrieve the puck in the boards. Importantly, the two keys to the goal manifest here. First, Erik Karlsson does NOT retreat back to the point like he should. Second, Rene Bourque (#18) is distracted by Mike Hoffman, who went from the front of the net to the high left point in case Ryan wants to send the puck up. This opens up a lot of space in the middle of the ice for the currently curling Mika Zibanejad, in the middle of the screen. Again, Tyutin (#51) is in good position, isn't he?
Ryan shifts the puck to Karlsson down low, ignoring Hoffman, who is off-screen with Rene Bourque. Karlsson has the wherewithal to step in front of Tyutin to force his stick position to attack down low, and then slots the puck to Zibanejad. Bobrovsky has already bit and is down in the butterfly hugging the right post so that Karlsson can't beat him on the weak side.
Zibanejad uses his long reach for the SECOND time this play to get the puck around a sprawling Bobrovsky, and slots it home.
In sum, Erik Karlsson was aggressively fantastic against Columbus. Zibanejad and Hoffman were also really used to their strengths here, with Hoffman earning enough respect from the Jackets to force players to take him out of the play, even though he was high, and Zibanejad - who struggles with acceleration - already in full flight from the get go, able to use his decent top speed to get into the zone, circle back, and then pot the goal.
Let me know if you'd like more of these, and check out the full play in its entirety (though the NHL stupidly cuts off the highlight)
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- Game recaps are first up! First, the 7-3 win against Columbus. [Silver Seven, SensChirp, Ottawa Citizen]
- Next, the 2-0 loss against Pittsburgh. [Silver Seven, SensChirp, Ottawa Citizen]
- Don't forget about your AHL coverage! Jeff is all over the BSens this week, looking back at the team's first win. [Silver Seven - Bingo Bites]
- Nichols has a bunch of relevant thoughts on the team after 3 games. Though a little bit has changed since then, the concerns he brings up about roster depth and the Sens defense situation is. Peter also has thoughts in his regular news + notes column, but also tackles some prospect news. [6th Sens, Eye on the Sens]
- One roster move this week: the team officially sent down goaltender Matt O'Connor to get some needed AHL development time now that Andrew Hammond is healthy. I don't think he's still 100% healthy, given that the team felt that it was better to give Anderson both games this week despite them occurring on the back-to-back. [Silver Seven, SenShot, SensChirp]
- Time for Shane Prince to get an extended shot. Really hope that Clarke MacArthur is okay, though. [Ottawa Citizen]
- The Rochester Hockey Analytics Conference took place - here's a recap from David Johnson and Sean Tierney. [Hockey Analysis, Today's Slapshot]
- Elliotte Friedman's weekly 30 thoughts column. [Sportsnet]
- There were rumours recently that the Bruins may be shopping Brad Marchand and Zdeno Chara. Cat Silverman has a great article on the source of these rumours and the practice of irresponsible journalism. [The Faceoff Circle]
- Controversy awry on the concussion front as a league lawyer is trying to dissociate from the issue. [TSN]
- The NWHL has started up! A really good place for content related to the new professional women's league is the Victory Press, which has season previews up for each of the four teams. ESPNW also had a feature on one of the league's stars, Hilary Knight. [The Victory Press, ESPNW]