Frame-by-Frame: Ben Smith’s First Goal

After every Canucks playoff game, we’ll break down one key play, frame-by-frame.

The Situation

There are less than 6 minutes left in the second period. Vancouver has a commanding 2-0 lead, and is looking dominant. Chicago looks frustrated. They didn’t score in game 1, and it’s not looking good right now.

Frame 1 (14:43)

It starts out as a harmless-looking rush up the ice. Bryan Bickell carries the puck through the neutral zone, with Ben Smith on his right and Markus Kruger behind them. Bieksa challenges Bickell, Henrik (top) and Daniel (bottom) stay with the wingers, while Edler (normally not out with Bieksa) hangs back.

Frame 2 (14:45)

Bieksa forces Bickell to go wide as he enters the zone. Since this isn’t the Toews line, Henrik stops skating, gliding alongside Smith as he watches the play.

Frame 3 (14:46)

Frame 4 (14:47)

Things don’t look too threatening here, do they? It’s a two-on-three at best for Chicago. Bieksa is on Bickell, Henrik is on Smith (or at least not too far away) and Edler is back as insurance.

Frame 5 (14:47)

Uh oh. Somehow Bickell gets position on Bieksa. Everyone’s eyes are on the corner now; no one’s watching Smith. Perhaps Henrik and Edler assume the other guy’s got him.

Frame 6 (14:47)

Bickell is now in front of Bieksa, but he’s pretty deep. Will he power out front? Will he pass to Smith in the slot? Edler tries to cover both possibilities by dropping to one knee.

Frame 7 (14:48)

Bickell can’t do anything but shoot from a deep angle. Luongo won’t be caught cheating towards Smith. He hugs tight against his post.

Unfortunately for Luongo, the puck bounces off the edge of his glove and right to a waiting Smith. Henrik suddenly realizes Smith is open, but it’s too late. Even a checking forward can’t miss a wide open net like this. Out of nowhere, Chicago is back in the game.

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