February started off so well and it ended so, so poorly for the New Jersey Devils and Johan Hedberg. The Devils started off the month well and ended it mired in what would become a six game winless streak. The Moose began the month with a shutout in February and giving up one goal in the second half of a home-and-home with Pittsburgh. The month ended with him as the de facto starter with Martin Brodeur injured, yet he allowed sixteen more goals in his next four appearances. What happened?
That's precisely the main question by all of these reviews of goals allowed by goaltenders. What happened on the play? How did it get through? Did the goalie have a reasonable chance to stop it? At first glance, one will see this stat line and understandably conclude that Moose really should've done much better in net despite a strong start. Seventeen goals allowed in six appearances isn't good. It's even worse when sixteen of them are in four of those six.
|February 2013 - Johan Hedberg||6||356||2||4||0||17||2.86||152||135||.888||1|
However, as is often the case, it's not that simple. Yes, Hedberg had some real doozies in terms of some of the goals allowed. So did the guys in front of him in this short group of games. Let's find out.
About the Review
Of course, before we get into each of these, let me restate what I'm doing here. 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/or the goaltender made an uncharacteristic mistake that led to the goal. If the goal allowed qualifies, then I deemed the goal as "soft." In fact, the very last bit alone can make the difference in what is and is not a soft goal. Breakaways are done on a case-by-case basis; there I usually look to see whether the goalie has at least made an effort. I do expect the most disagreement with them.
In addition, there are other traits I've recorded I have denoted skater errors by player and scoring chance. I assign a skater error by name under "Errors" if the player did something significantly wrong that led to the goal such as a turnover or not covering their man. It's arguable that all goals allowed have an error or some kind; these are for the egregious mistakes made. As for scoring chances, that's dependent on where the shot was fired. Anything between the two faceoff dots towards the top of the crease would count. Anything outside of that has not. I've erred against counting a chance if it's borderline, for what it's worth. I also denote the general position of where the shot beats the goaltender relative to the goaltender's position.
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 when you click on them.
The 17 Goals Allowed by Johan Hedberg in February 2013: A Chart
|Date||GA#||Where Beaten?||GA Description||Soft?||Video||Errors||SC?|
|2/10||2||Past the glove||Salvador gets caught on Malkin stopping so there's a 2-on-1 with Kunitz and Neal. Pass goes to Kunitz, then across to Neal, and then the one-timer is in the net.||No||Link||Salvador||Yes|
|2/16||3||On right flank||Boyes comes down left side in 3-on-2 and takes a shot. Hedberg stick saves it, rebound goes to Tavares on right flank.||No||Link||-||Yes|
|2/16||4||Bounced through legs||Moulson takes a close shot at goal line and puck rebounds up off the blocker. Tavares dashes to it and bats it in from mid-air and bounces through Moose.||No||Link||Tallinder||Yes|
|2/16||5||Off left arm||Tavares moves puck along boards, Boyes gets it, finds Moulson all alone at crease, Moulson scores||No||Link||
|2/16||6||Over left shoulder||Tavares gets puck in left circle and snipes a top-corner shot past Hedberg.||No||Link||-||Yes|
|2/16||7||Behind the Moose||Stretch pass springs Grabner past Tallinder. Hedberg knocks puck away with a diving poke; puck bounces off Zidlicky's skate and trickles in.||No||Link||Tallinder||No|
|2/23||8||Past the right pad||Chimera curls and hits Ribiero in the slot. Ribiero passes it to an open Ovechkin for a rocket that beats Hedberg's right pad.||No||Link||Fayne||No|
|2/23||9||Past the blocker||Hendricks passes it to Ovechkin through the neutral zone for a one-on-one with Volchenkov. Ovechkin fired a wrister through A-Train's legs and past Hedberg.||No||Link||-||No|
|2/23||10||A gift from Moose||Hedberg lost the puck to Fehr behind the net. Fehr wraps it around for a score.||Yes||Link||-||Yes|
|2/23||11||High, over the right shoulder||Ribiero gets a pass past Volchenkov to Ovechkin in the right circle. Ovechkin hammers a one-timer past Hedberg.||No||Link||Volchenkov||Yes|
|2/23||12||Through the legs||Ovechkin gets it in the right circle, hits Brouwer with a shot-pass, and Brouwer re-directs it in.||No||Link||-||No|
|2/24||13||Past the right pad||Wheeler hits a trailing Bogosian. Bogosian heads to the slot and beats Hedberg to his left.||Yes||Link||Josefson||Yes|
|2/24||14||Off the glove||Clitsome is open and gets the puck from Postma. He goes to the top of left circle, shoots, and Hedberg only got some of the shot with his glove.||Yes||Link||Josefson||No|
|2/24||15||Low, past the glove side of a fallen Moose||Larsson shot/pass is blocked by Kane and so he and Burmistrov push up. Kane splits the D, goes around a super-aggressive dive by Hedberg, and lays it in.||Yes||Link||-||Yes|
|2/24||16||High, over the glove||Zidlicky loses it to Wheeler, who touches it off for Little, who touches it off for Ladd. Ladd one-times it high past Hedberg.||No||Link||Zidlicky||Yes|
|2/28||17||Through the legs||Bogosian tries to hit Ladd with a pass and does so after two bounces for a breakaway. Ladd goes in close and gets it under the left pad.||No||Link||
|2/28||18||Low, past the arms of Moose||Byfuglien goes coast-to-coast and Hedberg stacks the pads at nothing. Byfuglien wraps it around and Ladd taps it in past a fallen Hedberg.||Yes||Link||Greene||Yes|
Location of Goals Allowed
Again, 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. I had to guess on a few of them since it wasn't so much the puck beating Hedberg but rather going past him entirely.
Things just went south for Hedberg's stats with his second game against the Islanders. After shutting them out in his first game against them, he got wrecked. For what it's worth, none of the goals were really his fault. GA #3 was a 3-on-2 rush where he could do nothing about Tavares being on the flank for a rebound; the three power play goals featured some poor work by the guys in front of him; and GA #5 was a great example of a bad bounce - as it went off Marek Zidlicky's skate and into the net. The bad goals didn't start coming until he had to be the last-minute replacement for Martin Brodeur against Winnipeg on February 24. He got lit up in D.C. in the prior game with one terrible error. But Moose's flaws started to appear more in his two games against the Jets with three soft goals by my count on the 24th and then another one on the 28th in Winnipeg. Four of his five soft goals of the month came in those two games.
Let's start there. GA #13 saw Josefson not pick up a trailing player, but Zach Bogosian took time to settle the puck a and pick his spot. Hedberg saw the shot coming and it just beat him. It wasn't a good start. The bad times kept rolling on GA #14, when he got a piece of but did not fully stop Grant Clitsome's shot. On GA #15, Evander Kane broke through on a breakaway. Hedberg decided to go super-aggressive and dive way out of his net, hoping to knock the puck off Kane's stick or at least surprise him. Neither happened and so Kane easily got around him and put it into an empty net. At least GA #16 wasn't a sore one to allow. That said, GA #18 saw another bizarre move by Hedberg in net. Dustin Byfuglien went coast-to-coast and Moose strangely decided to drop down for a double-pad stack. Byfuglien just went around him and wrapped the play around to Andrew Ladd, who had all net to shoot at since Hedberg took himself out of a position to make a stop. Those two games featured six goals allowed and four were just plain bad ones.
Incidentally, Hedberg only had one major malfunction in the two games where he got lit up for five goals apiece. GA #10 featured Hedberg holding onto the puck outside of his net, holding it some more, and then losing it to Eric Fehr, who wrapped it around into an empty net for a shorty. It wasn't a case of Hedberg making the wrong play with the puck outside of his net, it was a case of him not making a play at all. It was a gift for Washington, who went on to steamroll the Devils regardless. It was further justification for any fan who gets nervous anytime he goes out of his crease to play the puck. Still, the worst of Hedberg came in those two games. That in of itself is not good; it's even worse when it's in relief of a superior goaltender who got injured.
Getting back to the goals allowed over all, I essentially broke down some of these goals in an earlier post. Seven of the 17 were power play goals against and all but one weren't soft. Five of them were a part of my look at the Devils' penalty killing slump in February. Check out that post for more detail on what happened on GAs #2, 4, 5, 11, and 12. As for the remaining two goals allowed on the power play, one was soft and one was not. GA #6, which was a sick snipe by John Tavares while defending a two-man disadvantage. It wasn't a bad goal to allow, just a bad situation. GA # 14, however, was a soft one. While Josefson was caught on the wrong side, which gave Clitsome the room he took for his shot, Hedberg needed to get all of that puck instead of just part of it. At least most of the power play goals that sent his PK Sv% down into an abyss weren't really bad ones to give up. The goals indict other players.
There were two goals that I wanted point out despite not being soft since there could be arguments against. The first was GA #9. It was definitely not a shot from a dangerous area but I didn't count it as soft. Alexander Ovechkin basically used Anton Volchenkov on that play. A-Train had to maintain some kind of gap to keep pace with him without giving him a path to blow by him. I didn't think he did anything wrong. Ovechkin understood this and fired a hard shot through Volchenkov's legs. While it was from distance, I doubt Hedberg could see it's path or any kind of clue from the shooter since the shot came through the defender. Therefore, I didn't count it. The second was GA #17, which you know as the goal the Devils gave up eight seconds into the game. This was really the fault of Marek Zidlicky getting out of position and David Clarkson not covering up the wing. The pass from Bogosian to Ladd sprun him and while Hedberg didn't come up with the breakaway save, he at least made a good effort. The puck had to bounce it's way in. Therefore, I wouldn't say Hedberg really gave up a soft one; if anything, he got hung out to dry there. I can understand if you disagree on either, though.
For what it's worth, twelve of the seventeen goals reviewed came from shots that would count as scoring chances. The five that weren't were GAs #7 (off Zidlicky's skate), 8 (Ovechkin on an angle), 9 (Ovechkin through Volchenkov from distance), 11 (deflection), and 14 (Clitsome from distance). Only six goals allowed didn't have at least one significant error made by a skater; two of those six were soft ones. From what I saw, we saw some big mistakes costing the Devils dearly. That's not to fully absolve Hedberg, but it's indicative of how making the wrong decision or being in the wrong position can lead to your lamp being lit. It wasn't all on Hedberg, but the soft goals point to his sharing of the responsibility - especially for the Winnipeg games.
Again, February started off great for the Devils and Hedberg. Hedberg only gave up GA #2 in his first two games and that goal allowed wasn't a bad one at all. But the team slipped a bit and despite some recoveries, it didn't get much better. As horrendous as GA #10 was, it was the exception to what was going on with Hedberg. But things fell apart in those two games against Winnipeg. I'm somewhat looking forward to reviewing the 27 (!) Hedberg allowed in March just to see if the run of softness continued or not.
I don't think anybody will disagree that February eventually turned rotten for Moose in the net. However, I want to know your opinion about how it all went wrong for Hedberg and perhaps the team as a whole. Which one of the five soft goals did you think was the worst by Hedberg? I thought it was GA #10 given that it was an easily avoidable situation; it even raised my ire at Moose looking at it now in May. Were you surprised to find that most of those five came in the two games against Winnipeg and not, say, among the ten goals allowed to the Islanders and Capitals? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Hedberg's February in the comments. Thank you for reading.