Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chalk Talk: How To Make Four Defenders Look Bad

Its late in the third. Ottawa tied up the game earlier on a power play after Jason Pominville took a stupid penalty. The Wild are desperately trying not to lose on back to back nights, after winning their last four games. 

So who do you call to get a big go ahead goal late in the game? Zach Parise? No. Pominville? No. Dany Heatley? Haha. 

Correct answer: Mikko Koivu, noted goal scorer.

Koivu's go ahead goal with 2:57 left in the game propelled the Wild to a 4-3 regulation victory, helping them keep pace in the uber-competitive Western Conference. And since he scored such a lovely goal to give the Wild the lead, lets break it down:


Point of possession: Koivu gets the puck after a cross ice pass from Zach Parise. Now as Koivu makes his way through the neutral zone, he sees that it is four on four with the Ottawa defense getting ready to stand him up at the blueline. He does have a lot of space at the moment, and decides to hang on to the puck and bring it into the offensive zone.

Once Koivu gains the offensive zone, he sees looks over and sees Jared Spurgeon about to crash down on the net, Charlie Coyle moving over to cover Spurgeon, and Parise on the far side with no one even acknowledging his existence. The defense has yet to get within a few feet from Koivu, so he still has time to hang on to the puck.

Now as Koivu moves down to the faceoff circle, he sees that Spurgeon is covered by the defenseman, and he has all four Ottawa defenders staring blatantly at him. Erik Karlsson (has the number one below his skates) should be noticing Zach Parise sneak in behind him, but still continues to watch Koivu. At this point, you have to thinking Koivu hits Parise with a pass in that gap, right? Wrong.

Decision: Koivu makes a backhand to forehand deke and throws the #2 defenseman off balance, giving him space to skate towards the slot area. You now see that all four defenders have all crashed in on Koivu boxing him in. Parise still sits in the faceoff circle, untouched, waiting for the pass. Jared Spurgeon sets a slight screen on Craig Anderson (emphasis on slight) as he moves out of the way for Koivu. Mikko fires a quick wrist shot that Anderson doesn't pick up until its too late. Koivu scores, giving the Wild a 4-3 lead.

A classic Koivu fist pump ends signals the end of the road for Ottawa.

Pretty slick, eh?

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell


  1. Such a nice goal. Koivu is just ridiculously good.

    Also, I love seeing Spurgeon going to the net like that. It's something the Wild have lacked from the blueline in years past.

  2. Great breakdown! To see our blueline around the faceoff circles more or jumping more into the play is great. Also its nice to see Koivu take the shot as opposed to dish off to Parise. Either decision is great but I think from my perspective I like to see the Kaptain take the shot...shows me he is willing to take it as opposed to playing more safe/passive and dish it off.