April 2011 was a short month for the New Jersey Devils and an even shorter one for Johan Hedberg. Moose and Martin Brodeur ended up splitting the six games. The action Hedberg saw was his first since his awesome February performance. He wasn't as good in those three games as he was in February or November. He wasn't lit up as much as he was in October, December, and January. He wasn't pulled, he didn't come in relief, and his 180 minutes of work put him in the middle of those peaks and valleys stat-wise.
|April 2011 - Johan Hedberg
Of course, the whole point of this exercise isn't to just look at his stats and leave it at that. No, we must go in more depth with the 8 goals allowed in April. The same kind of questions asked in past months must be asked again. What kind of goals were they? How was Hedberg beaten? Were any of the goals allowed soft? For the final month of Hedberg's season, let us go back to the video one more time. Let's review the goals Hedberg allowed in April and discuss it after the jump.
About the Review
The main thing I'm looking for in this review are "soft goals," those goals against that should have been stopped by the goaltender. Here's how I am defining a soft goal. The goalie must have seen the shot coming; the shot was not deflected or change otherwise in motion; the goalie was in position to actually make the stop; and the goaltender made an uncharacteristic mistake that led to the goal. If all were true, then I deemed the goal as "soft." In fact, the very last bit alone can make the difference between a soft goal or not (e.g. first goal against by Hedberg).
I've added a new column to the chart called Skater Error. Did a Devils skater do something seriously wrong on the play that led to the goal? If so, their name (or names) end up on the chart. I could be picky and call them out for every goal, but I'm only highlighting who's actions or lack thereof contributed to the goal against. There will be goals where multiple skaters screw up, so you may see more than one name. I'm tracking this to see who was commonly at fault, assuming it means anything. As with the goals against themselves, feel free to discuss this too.
Lastly, I have provided links to the video I looked at for each goal from NHL.com. These links will auto-play the video, so be forewarned.
The 8 Goals Allowed by Johan Hedberg in April 2011: A Chart
|On Hedberg's left flank
|Mike Richards rushes up ice and James van Reimsdyk goes to the net uncovered. Richards fires a pass and JvR re-directs it on Hedberg's right flank
|Past Hedberg's glove, left flank
|Nikolai Zherdev finds Jeff Carter sauntering past an unaware Salmela on Hedberg's left flank. Pass is made, Carter one-times it in.
|Over Hedberg's body
|Jordan Staal torches past Mark Fraser, Hedberg dives early, and Staal fires it over him. PPGA
|Through the legs
|Hedberg stops Maxime Talbot's shot off a rush. Pascal Dupuis is right in front of him to pound in the rebound
|Under the stretched left arm
|Mark Fraser missed Tyler Kennedy's pass, which then sprung Chris Kunitz. Kunitz cut to center, slides it under Hedberg's left arm
|Empty net goal - Hedberg still on ice
|Hedberg was on his way to the bench as Pascal Dupuis got open and fired a long shot for an ENG. Hedberg tossed his stick at it - an automatic goal. It went in anyway. SHGA
|Low, on Hedberg's right flank
|Andrew Ference fires a shot from the left point which Hedberg stops. Rebound is knocked to Rich Peverley, who fires it in on Hedberg's right flank
|Through the legs
|Dennis Seidenberg fires a shot from the right point, Chris Kelly deflects it down to get through Hedberg's legs
Out of the 8 goals Hedberg allowed in April, I tagged two of them as soft. The first soft goal was GA #63. Mark Fraser gets named as making an error for getting torched by an on-rushing Jordan Staal on the power play. Yes, a rush on a power play. Anyway, it's soft for Hedberg because he makes the first move way too early, giving Staal most of the net to shoot at. Which he did with ease.
The second one is a little more controversial. GA #66 was essentially an empty net goal. The Devils had a late power play in a 3-2 hockey game, Pascal Dupuis gets the puck as Johan Hedberg is coming off the ice, and so Dupuis launches a long shot that has the puck slide into the net. Since Hedberg didn't actually get to the bench, he it's a goal against him. What makes it "soft" was the fact that Hedberg threw his stick at the shot. He missed and the puck went in, but if it didn't or if the long shot was going wide, it would have counted as a goal anyway. A skater or a goalie can't throw a stick at a long shot at an empty net; if they do, it's ruled as an automatic goal. So Hedberg guaranteed that it would have been a goal, and so I marked it "soft." If Hedberg did nothing or tried in vain to dive at it, I wouldn't have.
Anyway, the main point is that once again, the majority of the goals against Hedberg were not his fault. The two goals against him in the final game of the season were a point-blank rebound (GA #67) and a deflection at the very end of the game (GA #68). The two against him in that first game against Philadelphia on April 1 weren't his fault, though you can fault a skater on each. James van Reimsdyk was wide open and re-directed a pass for GA #61 that eluded the Devils' defensive pairing on the ice: Anssi Salmela and Andy Greene. Salmela was caught unaware of Jeff Carter, who then pounded in GA #62 on Hedberg's flank. Not the best of moments for the IIHF World Champion defenseman.
Speaking of bad times, Fraser getting burnt on GA #63 wasn't the only one in that April 5 game against Pittsburgh. No, he went after a pass by Tyler Kennedy and completely missed it; which gave Chris Kunitz the time and space to make a nifty move to score GA #65. It's so important for a defender committed to playing the pass to make that play. That goal against was a good example of what could go wrong if he misses. Poor Hedberg, he gets beaten because of that error. Likewise on GA #64, only it's an example of why a defender who's by an opposing player looking for a rebound needs to box him out or tie up his stick or something. Jay Leach didn't do anything, and so Dupuis cleaned up at the mercy of Hedberg.
All the same, it was a short month but not a bad one for Moose. He was suffering more in terms of being beaten as the result of a skater's error than anything he did wrong. That conclusion has seemingly stayed consistent from month to month, though we shall see when all of the months are summarized in the near future.
Location of Goals Allowed
All locations are relative to Hedberg himself, not necessarily where the puck goes into the net. It's pretty simplistic, but it'll do for general information.
Curiously, Hedberg was evenly beaten to his sides. Two to his left side and two to his right side. The other half of his goals against came through the middle, though that's not to say he was particularly weak there. One was a deflection (GA #68), another was off a rebound literally right in front of him (GA #64), one was high over a sprawled out Moose (GA #63), and an automatic goal (GA# 66). Now that I typed all that out, those latter three all came in the Pittsburgh game. Huh.
This concludes the month-by-month look at the goals allowed by Johan Hedberg in the 2010-11 season with the New Jersey Devils. I will put together a full season summary in the near future. In the meantime, I want to hear your take. Did this closer look to April change your opinion in how Hedberg did in April, or did it remain the same? Do you agree with what I called soft and what I didn't call soft? Do you agree or disagree with who I named as a skater making a notable error? Please give your answers and other thoughts about this month's review of goals against in the comments. Thanks for reading.