New Jersey was all a buzz when the Garden State team resigned the lethal winger from Tver Russia last summer. Number 17 brought his fabulous goal scoring ability to the Devils and his signature first pump. No wonder he’s such a great fit in NJ!
There is probably no better example of Kovalchuk’s supreme offensive ability then his jaw dropping snipe versus the Hurricanes at The Rock on February 16, 2011. John Fischer of the In Lou We Trust blog breaks down this play of beauty:
On February 16, 2011, the New Jersey Devils hosted the Carolina Hurricanes and beat them 3-2. At the time, the Devils were on a winning streak amid their Road Back to Respectability in the second half of last season. The victory was their fifth straight, which made fans happy at the time. What was more memorable than the victory itself were the first and third goals scored by the Devils. The eventual game winner was scored by Patrik Elias who busted out a nifty move on Jamie McBain en route to his tally. That goal was requested by a reader a week ago, and Kevin broke it down in this post. I’d check it out since it was a sweet goal and a good breakdown by Kevin as to how it happened.
It was a great shot and the sort of event that leads people to think that all a team needs to do is to get bodies in front of the goaltender. After all, if the goalie can’t see it, then it’s harder for him to stop it. This is understandable, but it ignores the risk involved. One body in front usually leads to two – the attacking player is usually picked up by someone – and as traffic increases, it makes it just as hard on the shooter to see where he should aim his shot as it is for the goaltender to see it. That all said, Kovalchuk’s snipe is a good example of how traffic in front of the goaltender can be incredibly effective. This will be made more clear as I highlight the important events prior to the goal after the jump.
In the comments of this recent breakdown of Ilya Kovalchuk’s overtime strike against the Penguins, user statusquo wanted to see Kovalchuk’s goal from this game. That would be the first goal of the game, a shot that found it’s way past two Hurricane players, a gliding Nick Palmieri, and Cam Ward. Today, I will closely analyze the play that led to the goal to see what had to happen for there to be a shot to begin with. Please set your viewing to “wide” and continue on after the jump to view the (long) breakdown.