Moose was certainly loose in the 2013 regular season. After a great first three games, he got lit up and the goals allowed by Johan Hedberg just piled up. A pinched nerve in Martin Brodeur's back led to Hedberg playing quite a bit in February and March and it didn't go so well. In total, he appeared in 19 games for the New Jersey Devils and gave up 51 goals with a total save percentage of 88.3%. His save percentage splits at NHL.com aren't kind at all. Hedberg was quite vulnerable on the power play with his 81% save percentage, he had a few shorties go past him, and even strength was well below league average at 90.1%. The numbers clearly point to what I believe most Devils fans would agree with: Hedberg had a bad season.
Of course, such a performance doesn't mean we can leave it at that. If anything, the 51 goals Hedberg allowed command brings up further questions. What really went wrong with Moose this season? Where was he beaten most often within his stance? How many of those 51 goals were goals Hedberg really should have stopped were he a league-average goalie? How often did those goals against come from scoring chances, those shots in the danger zone that is the area from the crease to the tops of the circles within the dots? Thanks to NHL.com storing video of all goals both scored for and against a team, we can take a look at each goal, record findings, and begin to answer these questions and more. It's something I've been doing every offseason and now that the Devils are out of the playoffs, now's a good time as any to begin. I don't think it's controversial to suggest the Devils need an improvement in net. A loser look at what the current situation should determine the importance of that need.
|January 2013 - Johan Hedberg||1||65||0||0||1||1||0.92||28||27||.964||0|
|April 2013 - Johan Hedberg||2||1108||1||1||0||6||3.00||39||33||.846||0|
In past goals allowed review series, I've went month by month. Since the majority of Hedberg's 2013 season took place in February and March. He played in only one game in January and gave up exactly one goal. He played in only two games in April and gave up six goals in both. It doesn't make sense to make those separate posts, so I'm combining them for today. As it turns out, the seven goals in total provide a good introduction as far as how I'll do these reviews. The smaller quantity makes it a good idea to try out a slightly different format, too. Don't worry, February (six games, 17 goals allowed) and March (ten games, 27 goals allowed) will get their own posts.
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/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 7 Goals Allowed by Johan Hedberg in January & April 2013: A Chart
|Date||GA#||Where Beaten?||GA Description||Soft?||Video||Errors||SC?|
|1/29||1||Low, through legs||3-on-2 rush, Krejci found Horton wide open on left. Horton skates to circle and puts one in low.||Yes||Link||-||Yes|
|4/25||46||Low, through legs||Sutter passes to Morrow in front, bounces shortly out, Cooke jams it in through Hedberg's legs, slides over line.||No||Link||-||Yes|
|4/25||47||High, past left shoulder||Letang springs Jokinen into zone. Jokinen torches Larsson, rockets a shot high off the post and in past a frozen Moose.||Yes||Link||Larsson||Yes|
|4/27||48||High, past right shoulder||Carter turnover leads to Rangers dump in to Callahan behind the net. Callahan puts past to Stepan past Gionta for a one-timer in slot.||No||Link||
|4/27||49||Low, through legs of diving Moose||Zidlicky coughs it up to Stepan in neutral zone. Stepan goes wide and hits cutting Callahan to middle. It's a one-on-one, and Callahan beat a diving Moose.||No||Link||Zidlicky||Yes|
|4/27||50||Low, through legs||Larsson gives away puck along boards to Richards. Richards finds Nash in high slot. Nash rips one low through Josefson and under Hedberg's right pad.||No||Link||
|4/27||51||Past the left pad||Zuccarello passes to Richards in corner, Richards gives it back across the slot, Zuccarello passes back to Nash in slot for one-timer to beat Moose on left flank.||No||Link||
Locations 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. In this short group, the five-hole was featured:
This selection of goals allowed included two soft goals: Hedberg's first goal allowed of the season and his last one at the Rock in this season. GA #1 was a 3-on-2 rush partially assisted by a change at the bench. Still, Nathan Horton was the wide man and got his shot through just as Henrik Tallinder was reaching over. Tallinder never got a piece of the puck as it slid along the ice. The shot went through Hedberg low and while he made a lot of important saves that night, it wasn't a good goal to allow. GA #47, Pittsburgh's second against Hedberg that night, was created by Kris Letang hitting Jussi Jokinen with an inch-perfect pass through the neutral zone. Jokinen was able to break from Adam Larsson and just beat Hedberg with a shot. The Moose was frozen on the play and didn't even make an attempt to stop it. That wasn't a good goal to allow so I termed it soft. I will say that I was more irked at GA #47 than GA #1 given the context of the game. Overall, two soft ones out of seven isn't great but it's not so bad either.
Incidentally, this group has a second goal scored in a one-on-one situation in GA #49. Marek Zidlicky coughed up the puck to Derek Stepan, who sprung Ryan Callahan for a shorthanded breakaway in effect. While Callahan got the puck through Hedberg's legs, I didn't call it a soft goal. On that play, Hedberg at least made an attempt to stop the puck and it wasn't a bad decision to make. He decided to challenge Callahan and go for the pokecheck. Callahan nearly lost the puck or had it knocked away due to it; he just somehow had enough behind it and found a small hole. It wasn't as if Hedberg did something so brain-numbingly bad; he took a risk and lost. In a one-on-one situation, I'm going to be more sympathetic to that than the goalie just being caught in a prone position as Hedberg did on GA #47.
As far as the rest, I didn't think they were bad goals to give up. GAs #48 and #50 were similar in their set-up and ended with one-timers in the slot past Devils skaters who only noticed what was going on when it was too late. GA #51 had Hedberg lunging in desperation as the only Devil on the ice on the play to try to do something about the puck. GA #46 was quite a strange one to review again. Live, I thought Brandon Sutter got the puck to Brendan Morrow for a close, point-blank shot and the rebound came out to Matt Cooke, who jammed it in. On replay, Sutter's pass actually went off Morrow's skates and rebounded right to Cooke. As Hedberg shifted over in position, Cooke kept the puck low and found enough daylight for it to get over the line before Hedberg got his back on it. That bounce off the skate was analogous to a rebound in my eyes and Hedberg moving means there will be some space. Cooke found it within a second and succeeded. It happens.
In terms of errors, I didn't see anything notably terrible that created the first two goals in this set. I don't feel comfortable blaming Tallinder on the 3-on-2 for GA #1 since he had to focus on the middle man to start. It's an odd-man rush, someone's going to be open. One could argue Peter Harrold did himself no favors on GA #46 but given that Cooke got the puck off a fortunate bounce for the visitors, I wouldn't fault that. The other five had some notable fault. Larsson was caught in the wrong position, which led to Letang making that killer pass for GA #47. Ryan Carter gave the puck away instead of getting a clear and Stephen Gionta was caught not aware of Callahan in the slot an with his stuck on the ice for GA #48. Zidlicky should have received a secondary assist for Callahan's second goal of that game. Larsson's giveaway along the boards and Jacob Josefson caught unaware helped make GA #49 look a lot similar to GA# 47. I thought about dinging the entire team on GA #51 but I faulted the defensive pairing that really wasn't on that play and Ilya Kovalchuk just watching Rick Nash instead of doing something to him or his stick. While I don't necessarily expect skater errors on every goal against, it wouldn't surprise me if I see quite a few of them while reviewing the other 44 goals allowed. I got the sense that when the Devils made a big error, it costed them big times. It should show up in the goals allowed reviews or both goalies; early indications suggest there may be something to it.
Additionally, most of the goals against came through Hedberg's legs. While all four weren't soft, that's not something you'd like to see. It's something to keep in mind for the next two weeks. Lastly, all the goals were scored in what would be called scoring chances. All seven goals in this review were in that chance area. At least Moose didn't get beaten from distance or an off angle in his short January and April 2013 work.
While I am combining the first game of what turned out to be a short and hot start for Hedberg and a not-at-all-hot end for Hedbeg in the same post, the seven goals featured are instructive of why this review can be useful. There were some bad goals, some goals that required additional explanation, and goals against with identifiable errors. Next week will look at Hedberg's February, which will have many more goals to investigate.
In the meantime, let me know what you thought of Hedberg's short January and April performances, the format of the charts for review this year, and the goals allowed as well. Thank you for reading.