Daniel and Henrik Sedin turned back the clock on Wednesday night, finding linemate Alex Burrows with a pair of beautiful passes for a tap-in goal against the Colorado Avalanche. As with almost every Sedin-created goal, there was a lot more to this play than meets the eye.
Daniel and Henrik are incredibly gifted athletes, but their best attribute is their hockey sense. And because of that, Canuck fans don’t have to worry about their skills eroding like a typical scoring leader (they rely on strength and speed a lot less than most other top scorers). Look at Daniel Alfredsson – a fellow Swede who has managed to remain very productive well into his late 30’s. New Jersey’s Patrick Elias is another.
OK, enough rambling about that. Back to the goal. Let’s break it down, shall we?
And the breakdown:
The puck gets worked back to the point, where Dan Hamhuis looks to direct it on net. So far, everybody appears to be in good position (Colorado is a mess down low right now, but you can’t see it on this screen). Having Jason Garrison on his off side opens up the threat of the one-timer, and Colorado has to respect (and fear) his shot.
Hamhuis has his wrister blocked by Gabriel Landeskog, who fronts the shot. However, he gives the puck up to Daniel Sedin. Probably not the best guy in the league to turn the puck over to….
Daniel, of course, makes a blind backhand pass across the slot. You would think Colorado would understand that these guys like to find each other with tricky passes. Henrik is wide open in the slot. Henrik could be wide open in the slot with a soccer net and no goalie, and he’d probably still pass it. However, Greg Zanon and Semyon Varlamov don’t know this.
Henrik makes a quick touch-pass to Burrows, who finds himself almost as wide-open as Henrik. Three Colorado defenders find themselves in no-mans land (also known as the area on the ice where there are two Sedins).
Zanon rotates over to block the shot from Henrik, while Landeskog and Ryan O’Byrne (who made a real mess of this play) are both still on Daniel.
Burrows taps it in for an easy goal.
Another victim of some Sedin wizardry. With that being said, Varlamov has played pretty well this season behind a subpar defensive group.
This camera angle shows a much better idea of what is happening. This is before the puck gets back to Hamhuis. Zanon is on Burrows in front, and O’Byrne is attempting to deliver a piggyback ride to Matt Duchene (faceoff dot on the right side). O’Byrne chased Daniel up high, which opened up a lot of ice for Henrik down low.
Landeskog has the puck on his forehand, but he whiffs and it ends up on Daniel’s stick. Notice where Henrik is in the above frame – he sneaks across the slot without anyone checking him. He may not put up 112 points in a single season again, but he isn’t a guy that you can leave alone in the slot.
Henrik handles the puck on his forehand. PA Parenteau tries to abandon the point to pressure him, but Henrik was thinking pass long before he had the puck on his stick. Heck, he is probably always thinking pass.
If Burrows had a contagious disease, the Avs play this very well. To my knoweldge he doesn’t, and that is why I can’t explain what the heck Colorado is doing here.
No bonus points for a beautiful saucer pass here. Colorado makes Henrik’s work easy on this goal.
Note to Colorado players – Henrik Sedin rarely shoots. Play the pass. It is easy to criticize NHL players in a frame-by-frame setting. Zanon and O’Byrne are both good defensemen. Landeskog is a solid defensive forward. The Sedins are elite players for a reason – hockey is a game of mistakes, and Colorado was forced into making a few on this beautiful passing play.
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