This week’s Learn from the Pros clip features Marian Hossa’s goal against Nashville on 4/24/10 to put the Blackhawks up 3 games to 2 in their first round series. Hossa, who was serving a 5-minute penalty for boarding comes out of the box, finds a break in Nashville’s coverage and puts home a rebound.
[1:01] – The entire play starts off by Chicago’s #36, Dave Bolland making a simple play while coming out of the zone. Bolland chips the puck off the wall around the Preds’ defenseman and keeps skating hard up ice. By not stopping his feet, he forces Nashville’s #37, Denis Grebeshkov to try to get in his way and focus on catching up the rest of the way up the ice.
[1:05] – Chicago’s #5 Brent Sopel doesn’t hesitate and follows this play up the ice. Keep in mind Sopel is a defenseman, and the Hawks were short-handed. Sopel picks up the puck and enters the zone wide.
[1:13] – Sopel continues to protect the puck patiently behind the net and back out toward the point where he gives a little scissor pass to #4, Niklas Hjalmarsson. This pass is difficult for teams to defend, as you have players moving in two opposite directions.
[1:15] – Hjalmarsson quickly moves the puck down away from pressure to the play starter, Dave Bolland. Bolland makes a great spin/escape move toward the boards to protect the puck from the Nashville defense. Having created the space, Bolland peels back behind the net and moves the puck up high to the point to Sopel.
[1:20] – Hossa (#81) has come from the penalty box and has driven straight to the net. This freeze-frame is great to see where the Nashville defense has broken down. If you look at Jason Arnott (Nashville #19) and Jason Ward (Nashville #29), you will notice a reversal of typical roles. Ward is typically a right-winger, and Arnott is a center. Arnott is out high covering what would normally be the right-wing’s point responsibility, while Ward is down low caught in no-man’s-land. The result in this missed coverage is Hossa is left all alone on the weak-side of Nahsville goalie Pekka Rinne (#35).
[1:22] – Sopel’s shot deflects off Ward’s stick and goes right to Marian Hossa, leaving Pekka Rinne with no chance of making a save.