This is the story of Florida’s third goal which put the nail in the Leafs’ coffin Wednesday night.
It is unfortunate that you cannot see the beginning of this play in the highlight packages. A nice play by Luke Schenn to delay and then release Brett Lebda sends the Leafs on a rush. A pass by John Mitchell sent Lebda into the corner where he won a battle for the puck. Unfortunately, rather than cycle it where he had two teammates he threw it into Kulikov’s corner which is what helped set up the goal.
How it all broke down after the jump.
The play starts out well enough as you can see above. Fredrik Sjostrom is covering for Lebda, the puck is being pressured, and the outlet is covered as well.
Mitchell uses his speed to get on Dmitry Kulikov and force him to just chip it up the boards. There are two options now:
  1. Luke Schenn comes down the boards and ends Michal Frolik’s life. Mike Brown would drop behind him to cover the point.
  2. Mike Brown hits Frolik and Schenn waits for the puck to dribble out to him.
  3. The vital part of the play is that Sjostrom has to cover the gaping hole left by Brett Lebda’s foray into the corner.
Let’s see what happens:
  1. Brown’s done his part. He is taking Frolik out of the play.
  2. Sjostrom is not doing his part. He is puck watching and is going to pay for it.
  3. There is so much open ice there for Shawn Matthias to stroll into.
Poor Luke Schenn has not realised that Sjostrom has left him high and dry so he is going to get a late break on trying to prevent a goal.
I like to think that, as the puck glides past him towards Matthias, that Sjostrom let loose a string of curse words because he’s realised what a mistake he’s made.
O HAI BRETT LEBDALEBDALEBDALEBDAZZZZZZZZ. A breakaway from the red line in the NHL is embarrassingly long. It’s into "too much time to decided what to do" territory. Hell, you rarely get breakaways this long in beer leagues. What happens anyway? Well, I wouldn’t be recapping it if it wasn’t a goal so…
Dammit. In case you want to see the entire play at full speed: