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Systems Analyst: Victor Rask’s Game-Tying Tally

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Rask’s goal was one of many in the third period alone against Vancouver, but the plays made by the entire on-ice unit make this goal the one worth dissecting.

Jamie Kellner

After the eight-goal outburst from the Carolina Hurricanes against Vancouver, it seemed only fitting to break down at least one from that game for this week’s Systems Analyst. Victor Rask gets the honors this week, but he was far from the only key cog in the play. In fact, he was one of the smaller parts. Take a look.

This was the tying goal in the third period—you know, the period that had six Canes goals to one for Vancouver—and was arguably the prettiest.

We’ll start the play off with Derek Ryan coming down the wing (top of the frame) with unfavorable numbers. He has Skinner on the far side (covered) and no other options. So what can he do?

Well, his best option is to curl away, which he does above. This buys him time and space from his defender, Ben Hutton, in order to allow more Carolina players to arrive. Making this play has obvious benefits over just dumping the puck—namely that the Canes maintain possession.

Now that there are numbers moving forward for the Hurricanes, Ryan can dump the puck behind the net. This is where Jeff Skinner comes in. The puck never makes it to 53, as Erik Gudbranson intercepts it. From here, the chase is on.

Skinner becomes the key to this goal by being relentless on the puck and forcing Gudbranson to turn it over right to Ryan, as seen above.

Notice the future scorer, Rask, wide open on the wing. How did that happen?

After Ryan dumped the puck in, Rask and Brett Pesce went in close to Ryan Miller in anticipation of a shot. No Canuck stayed with them since the puck went behind the net, but Vancouver also failed to pick up Rask after the turnover.

As the puck got turned over, Rask circled back towards the net while Pesce made his way back to the blue line. Still, the Canucks failed to notice 49 on the back door. Technically, Brandon Sutter is the specific player at fault.

Now for the second key to the play: Ryan’s awareness. He may be flying somewhat under the radar, but Derek Ryan is a veteran playmaker—not just your average call-up. He makes the pass to Rask almost instantly. Had he waited a half-second longer, Burrows or Gudbranson likely block his pass attempt. Without Ryan picking his head up before the puck came to him, the goal never happens.

Finally, paydirt. Rask finishes the play beautifully without every being touched by a Canuck.

Bonus: Ryan Miller being mad at his defense. You can’t see his face, but it’s a safe bet he’s not happy.

The theme of the win over Vancouver was the emergence of the Rask-Skinner-Ryan line, as they totaled eight points as a trio and undoubtedly led the Hurricanes’ comeback in the third period. It may be unreasonable to expect eight points every night, but having three players who all exhibit fantastic awareness and chemistry together is sure to create some chances, at the very least.