On Last-Minute Goals Against

We were with non-Wingnut family during the game yesterday so we only caught the last few minutes.

It was enough to see Joakim Andersson nearly stop the tying goal from behind Jimmy Howard. My initial reaction to the replay was of course disappointment that the break had gone the Kings’ way. Then it hit me: “why was Andersson out there?”

I’ve checked the play-by-play and there wasn’t a faceoff that I forgot about. Andersson was sent over the boards at 18:45 in live play, closing in on the final minute of a one-goal game. He was replacing Valtteri Filppula and joining Abdelkader and Miller, who had already been out there 43 seconds by that point. The Kings were pressing.

This is a kid with 7 NHL games under his belt. A good kid, who has done pretty well for himself with the Griffins. But not a kid who has any business being on the ice in the final minute of a one-goal game.

Guys like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg had been off the ice for nearly 1:20 at that point. That’s who you send out if you can manage a one-player swap when the opposition is pressuring.

These are the moments where I don’t understand Mike Babcock. I understand his interest in testing people in higher pressure situations, which is why you put Brian Lashoff on the penalty kill pretty much right off the bat after he gets called up. But the final minute of a one-goal game is when you put out guys that can hack it. It’s not the time to test a rookie.

That Jonathan Ericsson won the game with a trickle-through with 4 seconds left does not validate this strategy. That’s just luck.

Filed under: The Team

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