Apr 172011

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.

Apr 152011

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

Frame 1 (11:16, 1st period)

Down a goal, Hawks press. Duncan Keith (left) receives a pass from Brian Campbell, after Ryan Kesler blocked Keith’s earlier shot. Samuelsson (right) and 3 teammates are deep in their own zone. But where’s the fifth Vancouver skater?

Frame 2 (11:16)

Keith swivels left to take the shot, unaware that Jannik Hansen has jumped off the bench and is making a beeline for him. Instead of using his body to protect the puck, Keith is unwittingly offering it right to Hansen.

Frame 3 (11:17)

Hansen pushes the puck off a suprised Keith’s stick and straight towards Mikael Samuelsson.

Frame 4 (11:18)

Samuelsson quickly throws the puck up the ice for Hansen to chase. Keith is caught gliding in the wrong direction. Only Hossa has a chance of catching Hansen, who has to do a 180 and turn on the afterburners.

Frame 5 (11:19)

Hossa and Hansen engage in a foot-race for the puck, which hurtles through the neutral zone. Instead of skating to catch them, Keith (bottom right) waves for Crawford to sprint out and reach the puck before Hansen.

Frame 6 (11:21)

Hansen catches up to the puck right here, at the top of the circles. Crawford probably would have beat him had he rushed out of his net right away, but he hesitates and decides to stay deep. Not only is Hossa right behind him, but Hansen has a broken stick to avoid tripping over.

Frame 7 (11:22)

Hansen finishes off his breakaway with a quick move and scores. Looks like the speedy Dane has shaken off his hands of stone.

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