Hello my old friends.
It’s been a while.
I’ll be brief in embracing my return, but I do feel like I owe ya’ll a semblance an explanation, as I did disappear rather unexpectedly. I love writing frame by frame analyses, but when it comes down to it, they are incredibly time consuming and tiring to create (and write too, I suppose), and I just burned out a bit. I needed a break. I can’t guarantee that I’m back on a concretely consistent basis now, but I do intend to write these articles more frequently than I have been!
Since it’s been so long and I’m sure there are people reading this who have never read one before and don’t know who I am, here is what you’re getting yourself into: I pick a specific play and explain what happened and why through a series of marked-up still frames of the play. My credentials: 20 years of playing hockey (largely competitive), one year of assistant coaching a Squirt team in Boston, 19 years of cheering for the Predators, and generally just watching a ton of hockey.
If you feel like reading any of the old articles, clicky below. Otherwise, slide on down and let’s get started!
Predators Goal: Colton Sissons (5) from Calle Jarnkrok (2)
Take a second and finish wiping your eyes before you continue. Don’t worry, no one is judging you here.
We begin our analysis with a penalty kill for the Preds. Watson finished forechecking Bernier (G) after the Preds cleared the zone, and is getting off the ice for a fresh set of legs. Ryan Getzlaf receives the puck from Bernier (G) and begins carrying it up ice. The Ducks’ PP unit consists of four forwards and one defenseman, which is moderately relevant later.
Our first-least-favorite Ryan (that’s Kesler) zooms up for the go-ahead pass from our second-least-favorite Ryan (Getzlaf) while Corey Perry swings wide, anticipating a deep zone pass around the boards from his teammate. Sissons replaces Watson and away we go.
Subban targets Kesler who buckles under such immense pressure. Jarnkrok supplies both support (should the puck pop free), and some mild pressure (forcing Kesler to make a mistake by limiting his passing options).
Ryan Getzlaf correctly heads deep into the zone below Subban and Kesler, hoping to catch and control the puck should Kesler manage to get it past Subban. The camera angle doesn’t let us see exactly what happens, but sometime right around now Kesler loses the board battle to Subban and turns the puck over. This is a huuuuge no-no.
You are on the tail end of a powerplay. Losing control of the puck right now could very well mean an odd man rush the other way (never mind a straight up breakaway). If you gain the zone and have immediate, unavoidable pressure on you, like Subban on Kesler, you dump the damn puck. Kesler also has teammates like Getzlaf and Perry supporting him and anticipating a dumped puck; there’s no reason for him to try and bulldoze his way into the zone.
Subban flicks the puck up to Jarnkrok, whose patient support pays off. Because of the untimely turnover, Getzlaf (and to some degree Kesler) is caught way behind the play, giving Calle lots of play space. Sissons sees Jarnkrok taking off and gets on his horse, knowing that without him there are no viable puck movement options. Perry and Silfverberg follow suit.
Silfverberg (whose name is mildly irritating to type, btw) is the furthest man back, so he transitions to play defense along side actual-defenseman Cam Fowler. Jarnkrok drops the puck back to Sissons, who is followed closely by Corey Perry.
Now is also a good time to mention that it’s worth checking the clock for the next few frames, just to get an idea of how quickly this is all happening. It’s easy to forget when you look at it frame by frame... This is all about to happen in the span of 4 seconds.
Corey Perry kinda thinks about swiping at Sissons’ stick but then doesn’t, preferring instead to sit back and wait for Fowler to do his thing. And Fowler does indeed do a fantastic job of standing Sissons up before he can take a shot, forcing him out of the play. The puck slides past Perry, however, and over towards the uncovered Calle Jarnkrok. Perry does a kind of weak-ass poke at the puck while Jarnkrok skates by, but doesn’t actually affect anything.
This is where Silfverberg, the forward turned defenseman, screws up. Lookit those feet! He’s about to take off, thinking he can reach the puck, instead of staying where he is and waiting for the inevitable Predator that comes to the back door. Go back real quick, watch the clip again, and keep your eye on Silfverberg this time. He doesn’t know where the hell he’s going or what the hell he’s doing at this point in the play.
Sissons slips past Silfverberg, who is totally distracted by the puck, and into open ice. Kesler and Getzlaf rejoin the troops and Getzlaf immediately goes after Jarnkrok. This is good because no one else is doing that. Silfverberg has been caught flat footed as has Perry, and Fowler is still recovering from his entanglement with Sissons.
Let’s take a second and enjoy how many of the Ducks are just standing here watching Calle. Not a single man seems to realize that Colton Sissons is just kinda chilling on the far side of the net. Jarnkrok sees him though...
...and zips him the puck. This is the point where Fowler (and Fowler alone) seems to go “OH @*#%” and try to do something.
Meanwhile, everyone else just stands there and watches the series come to an end.