Breaking Down Mad Max’s Gritty Goal

I think I speak for all CanucksArmy writers when I say that I love the way Max Lapierre plays hockey. He’s cleaned up his act considerably since coming to Vancouver two years ago, and does a great job as the fourth line center (he’s essentially a third defenseman with how coach Alain VIgneault deploys him).

The Canucks slept-walked through most of the game against Calgary on Wednesday night, but Lapierre and linemade Andrew Ebbett provided some excitement with a prototypical "grinder" goal, and it kickstarted the rest of the team, as Mason Raymond and Daniel Sedin added goals shortly after.

The goal:

 Let’s break it down.

A simple chip-and-chase from Lapierre. Ebbett is along the far boards and both players take direct lines to the end boards. 

For whatever reason, Chris Butler decides to pass the puck behind the net, instead of making a simple chip pass up the near boards to Tim Jackman. On second thought, maybe he knew what he was doing….

Ebbett, using his smarts and speed, steals the puck, and Calgary does its best Keystone Cops routine. Butler tries to block the pass, and I’m not really sure what the other two Flames are doing. Lapierre cuts back around the net and goes right to the crease, with his stick on the ice. Smart man, as he finds the puck sitting there and jams it past Kiprusoff.

Bro, don’t leave me hanging. Bro?

Reluctant bro-five.

Another view of the play. Jackman would have been the better outlet for Butler to make here – the key to this play is Ebbett using his speed to win the race to the loose puck, as Butler likely assumed that there aren’t any other Canucks around.

Three Flames and one Lappy.

50% joy, 50% agony (thanks to a subtle two-hander from Jackman, who probably should have directed his anger at Butler for leaving him hanging).

A great fourth line goal that highlights a few of the positive qualites of both Lapierre (tenacity and grit), and Ebbett (speed, positioning, and smarts). Ebbett is a fantastic 13th forward, and he will be an important player for the Canucks this postseason, as the team wasn’t able to bring in a second forward in addition to Derek Roy.

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