I know this is old news now, but I read too many scathing remarks about Justin Williams and his apparent sole responsibility in giving up the short handed goal to Rick Nash against the Columbus Blue Jackets the other day.
Take a look at this video.
Notice that Smyth makes the wrong play along the boards at the first freeze frame, choosing to try and control the puck as well as stop up to avoid a larger hit, instead of chipping the puck directly back to the point. Had he done this, the Blue Jackets have no chance to break out in the first place. Instead, Smyth gets beat, allowing the Jackets to get to the loose puck and get it out of the zone with speed.
Then look at the third freeze frame. Kopitar notices that Williams was beaten by Nash so he chooses to turn and change coverage. This leads to Kopitar providing Nash a perfect screen to Jonathan Quick. Kopitar was trying to help, but he inadvertently screened the goaltender by stopping up and turning at the exact wrong moment. He would have been better off just staying with his man and letting Quick handle Nash alone.
Now I am not saying that Williams did not make an error in defending Rick Nash. He did. Though you must consider that Nash is no slouch and often beats top pairing defenders in a similar manner. Please just take these other two blunders into consideration when doling out unwarranted Williams hate. It was not just Williams who cost the Kings the short handed goal that put them down 3-1. It was a full team error, started because of an unfortunate bounce off of Kopitar’s attempt to center the puck in front of Mason upon entry into the zone.
Food for thought. Chew it up.
Categories: L.A. Kings News