Last night was one of those games but there was something that caught my eye on two of the goals that I thought I’d highlight. First, the 2-0 goal, which was scored on the PP.
As the Sharks hit the blue line, the Oilers seem to be in a pretty good position, with four guys back. There’s a 2 on 2 type situation emerging on the Oilers’ right side, with MPS and Ryan Whitney facing Logan Couture, who has the puck there, and Patrick Marleau, who’s circling in behind him.
Couture gives it to Marleau and, like moths drawn to a flame, both Whitney and MPS go to Marleau who, quite unfairly, gives the puck back to Couture.
And then Dubnyk’s really got to have that.
Here’s the 5-1 goal. This is a 5v5 goal. Again, the Oilers look to be in a reasonably good position here. It’s basically a 3 on 3, with Gagner Petry and Smid on the ice. It’s a little different than the 4v5 goal, in that Gagner’s considerably further from the puck carrier, at the top of the defensive zone, than MPS was.
Gagner goes for the puck carrier anyway and Petry kind of gets caught between going after the puck carrier and staying with Logan Couture. He elects to do neither. The puck carrier (TJ Galiardi) passes the puck across to Martin Havlat.
This leaves Ladislav Smid in a rather awkward position.
And Logan Couture scores on the rebound.
I’d love to hear Ralph Krueger talk about the responsibilities of the various players in that situation. I would be more interested in this than in his thoughts on all sorts of things that he’s far more likely to be asked. My suspicion is that the defenceman and the backchecking forward both need to read who is better positioned to take which guy, with a preference/default towards the forward taking the puck carrier when it’s that high up the ice.
So, on the 2-0 goal, with MPS in good position, it probably would been more sensible for Whitney to leave Patrick Marleau to MPS, while he backed in and kept himself between Logan Couture and the goal. By contrast, on the 5-1 goal, Gagner was a healthy distance from Galiari, with Petry in a much better position to deal with him. If Gagner either goes with Logan Couture, or looks around and finds the third guy (Havlat) coming in late, things probably work out a lot better for the Oilers.
Does that seem sensible, in terms of how the responsibility is likely allocated? You can’t really have a hard and fast rule because of how the game flows, so you need to have a sort of set of defaults that change depending on the situation.Email Tyler Dellow at firstname.lastname@example.org