Anatomy of a Playoff Goal: NSH vs. DET - Goal 3

You knew it was coming. It was just a matter of time. There was no WAY I wouldn't be looking at this goal. I've got to get this information out there to prevent this from ever happening again above the beer league/mini-mites level. It's for the children.

After a scoreless 40 minutes of Game 4 in Detroit, land that economy forgot, the third period had just opened up with the Nashville Predators and the Red Wings trading goals including a gorgeous knee snipe from the Preds' Gabriel Landeskog Bourque (sorry, force of habit). A Jiri Hudler (#26) shot hit the post behind Smashville goalie Pekka Rinne when this happened...

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Nashville centerman and country-music fan Mike Fisher had just won a battle with Henrik Zetterberg in the corner and then moved the puck to Martin Erat (#10) who curls and starts up the ice along the near boards. All-world defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom (#5) is in great position and is moving with Erat. Erats's fellow winger Patric Hornqvist (#27) starts his own push toward the neutral zone and takes an attacking angle on Lidstrom. The other half of the Detroit D on this play is Ian White, who is just off screen and has started to mark Hornqvist. Other players in the drama about to unfold are Nashville's Shea Weber (#6) and the guy Nashville picked before him in 2003, Kevin Klein (#8) who start their break from the front of the net.

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As the play hits the Nashville blueline we get our first look at White who appears to be angling to handle Hornqvist (who couldn't look more Swedish unless he was wearing a bikini, by the way) so that idol to millions Lidstrom can take care of Erat. Klein is driving the center of the neutral zone and Hudler has recovered well and should have containment options on Klein. Weber hangs back as Valtteri Filppula and Zetterberg are still in the defensive end with Fisher.

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At the next mile marker (the redline) we see the beginnings of a hitch in the Detroit D's giddy-up. Erat has angled away from the near boards and is attacking the gap between Lidstrom and Hudler. Klein is angling toward the lane that Erat just vacated and lil' Patty Hornqvist is trying not to get pinned in at the blueline. Everybody in a red jersey appears to be eye-fucking the shit out of Erat.

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As the rush hits the Detroit blueline, Erat is about 87.4% complete in splitting the gap between a now coasting-in-favor-of-an-ineffective-poke-check Hudler and an I'm-sure-my-partner-has-the-other-guy Lidstrom. Little known fact: Ian White is 1/8th mminiature schnauzer. That's the only reason I can think of for him to chase the Czech winger like he's his name is Rat and not Erat. I remember watching this play and thinking Hornqvist might develop an inferiority complex due to the speed with which the Red Wings defense abandons him (1 assist, 7 shots in the playoffs) in favor of a guy who has done exactly jack and shit against them all series (no points, -2, and two shots to at this point). Klein glides into the zone like he's got an engraved invitation. Ohh, and Jimmy Howard is telescoping out from his net to attack the Erat rush.

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Like some weird synchronized skating team, all three Detroit players chase Erat like he stole their money after feeling up their moms and knocking up their sisters.

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Look, even if I gave them the benefit of the doubt and this scenario was some new-fangled approach to low-percentage scoring chances, they are REALLY doing a horrible job denying Erat a passing lane. Much like [redacted]'s moral fortitude, you could drive a truck through those wickets. Howard is sliding OUT of the way of a possible Erat shot against the grain. I have no joke for that. Also, Klein and Horny both start wondering if Admiral Akbar is about to pipe up (Ole Miss really missed an opportunity when they didn't pick him as a mascot).

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I'm no math major but they sure are showing Erat a ton of respect right there. Struck by inspiration (and no doubt the ear pain caused by the high-pitched squealing coming from Hornqvist and Klein), Erat slides the puck back into the slot...

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...where Howard and his teammates get a chance to reassess the threat situation...

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...while Klein hesitates with the puck for just a second to see if Our Lord Howard would like to dial his effort level up to "token"...

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...before he buries it while Hornqvist cheers him on. The Three Muskateers in the corner all get their head around just in time to see the fruits of their public school math education pay off while Filppula screams for the ref to blow the whistle so Nashville can be robbed of another goal on the night.

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Jimmy Howard tries to find solace by hugging it out with his best friend, the right post, while Lidstrom explains to White how addition and hockey kinda go hand-in-hand sometimes. Ohh, and how that goal was totally not his (Lidstrom's) fault.

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The Predators celebrate...

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...while Val Filppula looks on in an odd mix of sarcasm and childlike wonder.

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