March 16 2013 01:11PM
Mason Raymond has arguably been the most consistent and most effective Vancouver forward in 2013. His struggles last season are now firmly in the rearview mirror. Raymond is playing with a lot of confidence right now, and Thursday night's goal against the Predators was a great example of that.
I wrote on Raymond's resurgence over at Canucks.com last week (and you can read that here). Essentially, the point I was trying to make was that Raymond needed a year to fully recover from a broken back, and that he has quietly developed into a very effective two-way winger.
Now let's take a look at the goal, as it was the culmination of a number of very good plays from multiple Canucks.
And the breakdown:
Andrew Alberts evades two Nashville forecheckers with a clever backhand pass to Kevin Bieksa. Alberts quickly glances back to make sure Bieksa has space to handle the pass before dumping it off to him. A smart and effective play from Alberts. He's generally a defenseman who plays within his limitations (otherwise known as "off the glass and out"), but plays like this go a long way to helping him remain in the lineup.
Nashville's third forechecker is a bit high - that is the style they play (three back), but he needs to be a bit tighter on Bieksa, who has a lot of time and space to make an outlet pass to one of the three forwards.
Bieksa has an opening between Ryan Ellis (4) and Brandon Yip (the third forechecker), and he makes a nice pass to Jannik Hansen in stride. Ellis is caught pinching up the wall, and Andrew Ebbett is able to gain a step on him and turn this into a three-on-two rush.
And it's go time. Hansen, Mason Raymond (at the blueline) and Ebbett all turn on the jets to get up the ice. Ellis recovers nicely, but he is still out of position.
Raymond goes wide, which helps to keep Nashville's defenseman (Scott Hannan, who had a rough night) from overplaying on Hansen. Ebbett stays wide on the left, too. Great spacing from Vancouver's forwards on the rush through the neutral zone.
Hansen cuts in, draws Ellis over, and drops it back to Ebbett. A great play and one that the Sedins have perfected. Ebbett is thinking pass, and Raymond is gearing up for the shot. Notice how wide he still is - this is something that Alex Burrows does with the Sedins - they will draw the defenders together with a quick pass or two and then find Burrows out wide.
"Ebbett, over to Raymond... BANG." - Darren Dutchyshen.
Another view of the Alberts breakout pass. I had to post this again in case any of you didn't believ me the first time around.
The seas part for Bieksa, and Hansen is the beneficiary. Hansen's ability to turn and get the puck up the ice quickly is another important contribution to this beauty of a goal.
Raymond already has his stick on the ice ready to shoot as he enters the zone. Hansen gains the blueline before dumping it off. Again, great spacing by this trio.
Rinne is in good position for Raymond's shot, which is from pretty far out. Raymond absolutely hammers it far side, off the bar and in. A Cody Hodgson-like finish here.
Who has two thumbs and thinks that Raymond should be re-signed? This guy. And me too, I guess. Raymond has been effective this season, and he is once again creating offense with his skill and speed. Both of which were on serious display last night against Pekka Rinne and the Predators.
Daniel Wagner from Pass It To Bulis also did a great frame-by-frame breakdown of this goal. You can check that out here.
Oh, and in case the above wasn't enough:
Previous Goal Breakdowns from Jeff: