Edmonton Oilers win vs Montreal Canadiens

Best NHL plays of Tuesday night; Sharks win over Nashville, Red Wings first two-goals, Oilers win over Montreal

This was a pretty exciting night, some upsets, some high scoring games and some games we all expected. This will be a new edition, and this does not mean “top plays” as in top goals, or passes it means the top plays as in what lead to the goal. I will break down about 3-4 games and highlight how that goal happened and the important aspect/teaching point. 

Game 1: Predators vs Sharks; 5-4 Sharks won. This was a crazy game from start to finish. The Sharks opened up with three first period goals and the Predators score 4 unanswered goals after that. The one play I will be highlighting is the fourth goal for the Predators and Sharks. The 4th goal for Nashville came off the stick of Rocco Grimaldi, all he did was outwork the defense man get inside position on him and bury his chance. Hard work, desire for the puck, is all you need to be successful. Fourth goal for San Jose came off the stick of Joe Pavelski but the play started with Joe Thornton taking a hit to make a play, Burns filling in, making a questionable pass, Sharks forward staying with the puck and instead of Pavelski going hard to the net he stays in the soft area in the high slot, bangs it home. 

Game 2: Canadiens vs Oilers; Oilers won 5-2. I am going to highlight two Oilers goals here and their first two, for one reason puck movement and simplicity. You probably here time and time again, do not force passes and use the perimeter, open the ice and get the defense man to open up and move. The Oilers did exactly that on their first goal. It started with a good fore check/terrible play by Canadiens defenseman. #91 for the Oilers came in hard forced a turnover, held it for a second, created space, Draisaitl popped behind the net, McDavid slid to the hash marks on the other side of the goal, Benning foot inside the blue in the middle of the ice, it was bang-bang, #91 to Draisaitl to McDavid to Benning for a goal. Simple, open the ice and create space. Goal #2 for the Oilers is my favorite, McDavid is so good at this, not forcing anything to the middle staying wide and creating offense that way. A lot of kids and players nowadays like to come down on a defenseman and go to the middle thinking they will beat him that way, all defenseman are programmed to push you wide and ride you into the boards, McDavid does exactly that, goes wide and uses his speed to blow by the hit. All young players out there, you have a slower defenseman on the ice, use your speed and go wide, just like McDavid’s play and the Oilers second goal. 

Game 3: Coyotes vs Red Wings: Red Wings won 5-1. This was a game the Coyotes probably expected to win. They have been playing pretty decent hockey this season, a lot better than years past but the Red Wings scored three quick goals and it was game from there. The Red Wings first two goals will be highlighted though. The Red Wings first goal is like a dream come true watching it, it was so slick and perfect. Pass from the defenseman to the forward swinging through the neutral zone, one touch pass to the supporting forward there with him, back to the forward with speed up ice and the Red Wings Anthony Mantha, used his speed, pushed the defenseman back, Frans Neilsen, forward two pushes the defenseman back to the goal, leaving Mantha on a 1 v 1 vs a forward, all he does is keep his feet moving, shooting off his stride cross the body of the goalie. Goal #2 is a coaches dream, Red Wings on the power play, puck gets moved from the right side to the left side, shot from the point Justin Abdelkader slides right in front of the net, takes the goalies eyes away and shot beats the goalie clean. Red Wings up 2-0. Watch up until 2:00 minutes to see the highlights. 

NHL Red Wings

What went wrong: Detroit Red Wings 2017-2018

The Red Wings missed the playoffs last year for the first time in 25 years, and this year things were not much better. The Red Wings do have a decent excuse though. They have been dealing with their older players leaving and their younger players coming in. Therefore the whole culture and environment are changing in Detroit. A player like Henrik Zetterberg a legend in Detroit will soon be forgotten. When the old is out and the new is in, it is never an easy transition.

The Red Wings went 30-39-13, 73 points, ranking 27th in goals for(212), 8th in goals against(254), 24th in power play percentage(17.5), 23rd in penalty kill percentage(77.5). They certainly did not too well in any department last year. The positives for the Red Wings though they had Mike Green make an All-Star appearance, Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou had successful seasons and there are a lot of bright signs for the Red Wings and their forward group.

Mike Green All-Star defenseman registered 33 points in 66 games with 25 assists. 

The top reasons the Red Wings were not successful this season were quite simple, they are young, they lacked depth, lacked goal scoring and their blueline is old as dirt. The Red Wings also have not really secured that goaltending spot so that has played negatively into the team’s success.

What went wrong for the Red Wings 

(1) A young roster. Look at every team that has ever gone through a rebuild, the Maple Leafs, Oilers, Coyotes, Penguins in 2006-07, the list goes on. When the team is young and the players on the roster especially speaking top six are a young group of forwards it is tough to really be a solid team that can make an impact in this league. Dyland Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Martin Frk, Luke Glendening, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, these players are all under 25 years old, so the environment is a very young and it is difficult to be good when your team is inexperienced.

(2) Depth scoring and depth across the front end. Now the Red Wings top six was not bad but when you match with other top six’s it is tough. So when your bottom six is Frans Neilsen, David Booth, Justin Abeldkear and Luke Witkowski it is tough to be competitive in a league that yearns for a solid bottom six. The Red Wings top scorers were Dylan Larkin with 63 points than Henrik Zetterberg with 56 points after these two the Red Wings had 10 players with 40 points or fewer.

(3) Their defense was old as dirt and their goaltending was to put it nicely a question mark all year. The defense is centered around Danny DeKeyser, then Trevor Daley, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson you are going to have trouble on the backend. Plain and simple, and problems on the backend will not lead to a successful season. On top of Jimmy Howard, Petr Mrazek issues in the beginning of the year the Red Wings goaltending situation was a bit of an issue and when Howard turned it around and had the crease when Mrazek left it was too late for the Red Wings to turn their season around.

Will things be better next year? 

Well, the Red Wings have number 6th overall pick looking at drafting Adam Boqvist which will help the blueline problems. They have a very young up and coming forwards, the only issue is that Larkin, Athanasiou, Frk, Mantha, Bertuzzi are all RFA’s and will need to be resigned, Mike Green will surely be gone in the offseason and things could be worse but the Red Wings will resign their core forwards who will be RFA’s this offseason but things will not be better anyways, they will be a borderline basement team again, maybe around the .500 mark easily again in the 23-25 range and you can count the playoffs out.

NHL Forwards: FIVE FORWARDS To Look out for the 2017-2018 Season (PART ONE)

We spoke on some of the up and coming defensemen to keep an eye on for the 2017-2018 season, switching over to the forwards now. Everyone knows Crosby, Kane, Matthews, Laine, etc are the players to watch, this list will be the players to keep an eye on that don’t get much attention around the league.

  1. Andre Burakovsky– Burakovsky has been with the Capitals for three seasons now, he’s been through ups and downs this organization has had. With the free agency news and signings that happened, the Capitals lost two key forwards recently. Therefore it is time for 22-year-old Russian left winger to step up and turn some heads in Washington. Burakovsky missed 18 games last season, but still managed to post 35 points during 64 games, along with 23 assists. With Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams gone, Burakovsky steps into the top six spot and will be playing alongside Kuznetsov, Backstrom, and Ovechkin, with that type of star power around him the left winger will soar to new heights next season, barring he plays a full 82 games next season, I think we can all expect Burakovsky to produce 40 plus points during the 2017-2018 season.

2. Rickard Rakell– After a career season and an unbelievable playoff performance, Rakell is finally amounting to the production Anaheim expects from him. Rakell buried 33 goals, along with 5 on the powerplay and 51 points on the season.

Screenshot 2017-07-13 at 10.22.57 AM
Ducks F Rickard Rakell looks to topple season high 50 points next season.

During his 15 game appearance in the playoffs, Rakell managed to post almost a point per game, with 13 points and 7 goals. Last season was Rakell best season all across the in terms of production and reliability. Rakell turned some heads and brought the spotlight onto him last season, with 10 game winning goals. It’s going to be tough for the 24-year-old to step out of the spotlight now after a 51 point season, but Rakell has the right tools around him in Anaheim and I think we can expect the center to put up even better numbers next season.


3. Jack Eichel– Now the reason being Eichel is on here is because, although the former 2nd overall pick got injured last season and missed 20 games, the Boston product posted more points in 61 games last season then he did in 81 his rookie year. When Eichel returned he almost a point per game type of player and in the month of February he had 16 points. Eichel flys under the limelight of Connor McDavid being the two were drafted the same year and McDavid recently just ran away with four awards this year. But now that Buffalo added some more defensive weapons, brought in Jason Pominville, and added some more key pieces up front the once basement team is looking to make a run at the playoffs this season. We all know how competitive Eichel is as well the 20-year-old center will thrive in the winning environment if Buffalo can string together some momentum next season. If Eichel is healthy all 82 games next season I think we can expect a 70 plus point year.

4. Elias Lindholm– Another player that fly’s way under the radar being that he plays in Carolina and the team has not been all that successful. Although last year the Hurricanes took major strides forward and with their offseason transactions they are taking, even more, strides forward. Lindholm posted a career-high 45 points last season and 34 assists along with 11 power play points. Hoping Justin Williams can help propel this offense a bit and possibly will be paired with the 22-year-old center along Sebastian Aho. Lindholm’s season was not a fluke last year, the right-handed forward now has some more tools with him to get the job done and we can expect Lindholm to produce similar if not better numbers next year.

5. Anthony Mantha– The former 2013 20th overall pick finally saw 60 games last season with Detroit, although Detroit was not as successful last season and missing the playoffs for the first time in 25 years the 22-year-old flashy left winger brings some brightness to the young culture in Detroit. Mantha posted 36 points, with 17 goals and 19 assists last season, his first official season as an NHL’er. With the direction Detroit is going it seems as if the Red Wings are not going to be back in the playoffs again next year, but with Mantha and a few other up and coming prospects, in no time Detroit will

Screenshot 2017-07-13 at 10.24.33 AM
Anthony Mantha on the rise for young Red Wing forwards.

be back. Mantha’s size and big frame allows him to be a force on the offensive side of the puck and cause some havoc from defenseman down low, paired with the right guys, Mantha will exceed 36 points next season, especially with a full 82 games under his belt too.