With two goals on the night and likely playing in his final game as an Oiler, Ales Hemsky lead the way in a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.
SENATORS FIRST GOAL
Off a lost draw, this is usually a set play where the winger
picks up the puck and goes around the horn. Coaches generally teach two ways to
handle these defensive situations. The center (Gordon) either stays on his face off man (Spezza)
no matter what, or some coaches will teach the center (Gordon) to release his
center to the defenseman, and Gordon is then expected to challenge the winger
with the puck, which he did here.
Either way, on this play two guys go to one, and Spezza is
left wide open. Both Fraser and Gordon get caught in no mans land. I think Fraser should have trusted Gordon would close the angle and stayed with Spezza. Not knowing what is taught by Eakins, it’s hard to tell who
missed their assignment but that is not Hendricks guy — his man is at the point.
After a dreadful 1:30 of power play had elapsed, Hemsky gets time
and space and does exactly what he does best when given room. Just a beauty of a goal.
A great play and goal, thanks in large part to Taylor Hall. Hall wins a battle in the defensive zone then
leads the rush up ice finding Gagner and goes right to the front of the net,
driving the defenseman back and stopping in front. Hemsky does a great job to hold up and find
the open space at the blue line, where Gagner hits him and Hemsky beats a
goalie that couldn’t see because of Hall. It would have been easy for Hall to just fly
by, but he didn’t. You can’t draw it up any better.
This play starts in their own end with Eberle breaking up a
4 on 3. He gets the puck to Hall, who makes
a nice hesitation play in the neutral zone to get it back to Eberle, and then
Eberle goes and stops at the net. Again, many times players will just swing behind
there. He stops and gets rewarded with a
tap in. Good habits.
PLAY THE SCORE
These are the plays this season that for a fan, coach or teammate
you just wonder why? Up 3-1 midway through the third period and Ganger circles back with plenty of time before he is eventually pressured and tries to
force a backhand pass through the middle instead of just chipping it off the
boards on his forehand into the neutral zone.
It leads to a glorious opportunity for the Sens and an Oilers defenseman has to pull the puck off the goal line that squeaked through Scrivens. If that goes in it completely changes the game. It’s just a mental error. You don’t have to go into a defensive shell with a lead, but you have to know the score and timing within the game. He cannot
force that there and it happens too often. (Not just Gagner)
2nd OTTAWA GOAL
A controlled breakout and there are four Oilers standing still at
the far blue line. Not a great goal for Scrivens to let in, but how do you give Erik
Karlsson the room to wheel uncontested to the far blue line? I’ll give Karlsson credit, he made a heck of a
play at the line, but there’s still too much room because most of your
defenders are flat footed.
Taylor Hall was very noticeable tonight, definitely his best
game since the Olympics.
Minus the Karlsson goal, he looked fantastic. Seems like
every game he’s played he gives this team a chance to win.
Well Ales Hemsky didn’t hurt his trade value tonight by any
means. If this is indeed his last game
as an Edmonton Oiler he definitely went out in style. He was deservedly the game’s
first star, and what a lasting memory for a guy that I hope gets to go
somewhere and enjoy a nice playoff run.
The trade deadline is tomorrow. It’s always a fun and exciting time as a fan
and media member but for most players it’s a nerve racking time. I wrote about
it two years ago as a guest writer at Oilersnation. You can check that out here if you like, my feelings haven’t changed.