Photo: Getty, Photographer uncredited via Smell the Glove.
It was the go-ahead goal. it came as the Canucks were struggling to re-discover the tempo that had carried them in the second period. It confirmed the ascendancy of the Sharks in the game.
Or did it?
In a game that was always going to be close, finding the way to the net was a challenge. Forcing a mistake proved to be even harder. But the Sharks did that and it was the crucial moment in a game that the Canucks had controlled for a time.
A break down of the goal, and what it represented, after the jump.
It was an odd opening to the period. The Sharks’ defensive system was working well – ahead of the Boyle goal, the Canucks had managed to direct just six pucks towards the net. Only two were on net, long distance jobs by Andrew Ebbett and Kevin Bieksa.
The Sharks, on the other hand, had totalled five on net, though only two were from anything close to the net. The second of those was crucial. That was Joe Pavelski’s backhand shot from the boards that ended up squirting out to the uncovered Dan Boyle.
There’s three things to notice. First, Andrew Desjardins getting position on Frank Corrado. Their battle ends up impinging Luongo from both tracking the puck across the top of the crease and also from making any attempt at a save.
Then there’s mason Raymond coming down low, in an effort to overwhelm the Sharks at the net. Boyle’s his man.
Third, there’s Tommy Wingels finding an inch of space between Derek Roy and the net. He plays as low as he can, leaving Roy with few options. He vainly tries a stick check, but Wingels is able to shove the puck over to the on-rushing Boyle.
Good teams will beat you on the mistakes you make. The Canucks didn’t force enough out of the Sharks, while the Sharks finally found ways to break down the Canucks. Those are always going to happen.
In a similar vein, think about the Canucks’ first goal. It was ugly as hell. It was a mess in front of the net. They’d nearly scored in a similar fashion minutes before, but Alex Edler’s pop-up shot had landed atop the net, instead of inside the cage. Both were sequences were the Canucks swarmed the net and caused a ruckus for Antti Niemi.
The Canucks need to make that work more effectively in game two, because the Sharks sure as heck aren’t going to be giving up much from the slot.