Alex Steen’s power play goal 9 minutes into the start of the Blues v. Kings first round series should be one to remember. Not only was it a great power play goal, but it also set the tone for the next 40 minutes of the game.
In those 40 minutes, the Blues showed the Kings, the fans, and to themselves that they have what it takes to keep up with the Kings.
So how did the Blues score? Let me break it down for you.
The Break Down
As Regehr gathers the puck, St. Louis Blues forward David Perron (blue circle) puts pressure on Regehr.
This forces Regehr to make a quick decision; he has two options:
1.Keep the puck moving in the same direction by gathering it and firing it along the boards, hoping it passes the Blues PP’ers and goes out of the zone..or
2. Reverse the puck and make a shorter, easier, and safer pass to Williams in hopes he sends it out himself
Regehr chooses to send it back to Williams. Considering it took Regehr forever to skate to the puck, the pass back to Williams was the smarter play of the two options, especially with Andy McDonald lurking along the boards.
Eventual goal scorer Alex Steen is circled in red here. As Williams attempts to clear the puck from the neutral zone, it appears as if he passes it to Rob Scuderi whose situated in front of the net.
Taking a closer look, I’m almost certain Steen gets his stick on Williams’ pass. Instead of a pass that appeared to be intended for Scuderi to take in stride (the dotted line), the puck instead goes to Scuderi’s backhand (the solid line).
Now things start to go very wrong for the Kings.
Since the puck is sent to Scuderi’s backhand, it takes him an extra second to control the pass from Williams.
By the time Scuderi controls it, Blues forwards Andy Mcdonald and David Perron are closing in on Scuderi in front.
He needs to get rid of the puck quickly.
But since he’s on his backhand, his clearing attempt is weak and eventually kept in the zone by Kevin Shattenkirk (outside of the image).
The play then develops as Shattenkirk (blue circle) gathers the puck and walks it in, somewhere in the vicinity of the black circle. He’s about to let off a well placed, 8” from the ice slap shot that Quick saves with his right pad.
Meanwhile, Steen (red circle) is sneaking into the slot behind Jarret Stoll at the top of the circle.
It’s important to note here that all four Kings penalty killers are watching the puck.
No one watches Steen and Justin Williams (green circle), who barely makes it back past the hash marks, is the biggest culprit.
As Steen (red circle) breaks towards the wide open area that is the gray circle, or far more likely known as the slot by hockey fans, Shattenkirk fires off his shot.
The Kings penalty killers are still looking at the puck, especially Justin Williams who should be neutralizing the streaking Steen.
Steen (red circle) then beats Regher to the juicy rebound in the slot and buries it in the back of the net.
Review: Keys to the goal
- Good stick work along the boards by Steen
- A failed clearing attempt by the penalty kill
- Kings penalty killers caught watching the puck
- Williams missed assignment
- Steen’s awareness and great hockey sense to crash the open slot
Before you go, enjoy this GIF by Ann Frazier (@mymclife ) for the road…Game 2 is tonight: I say the Blues take this one too.