We continue in our breakdown of how Plekanec scored his goals:
January 25th, 2012: Tomas Kaberle gains the offensive zone and passes the puck back to Rene Bourque at the point. Bourque one-times the puck off the inside of Jimmy Howard's right pad. The shot rebounds right to a well positioned and open Tomas Plekanec, who makes no mistake in backhanding the puck past an out of position Howard. This goal was off the rush, but was not an individual play.
February 5th, 2012: Kaberle and Plekanec do a little give and go on the points on the powerplay, and Plekanec spots a lane so he drives to the high slot. He wrists a shot through Ondrej Pavalec, above his right pad and below his arm. Though Andrei Kostitsyn and Scott Gomez were in front of the net, neither provided a screen or set Plekanec up in scoring position. Similarly, Kaberle gave Plekanec the puck, but it was Plekanec who found the opening and created a scoring chance. This one is a tough call, but I'm going to call it an individual effort even though it was a zone play.
February 13th, 2012: Chris Campoli clears the puck up the boards after it's knocked loose by a Mathieu Darche check. Plekanec pounces on the puck in the neutral zone and creates a 2-on-1 break with Bourque. Electing not to pass, Plekanec beats Cam Ward through the five-hole. This goal was an individual play off the rush.
March 6th, 2012: With just seconds left in the 1st period, Plekanec gains the zone on a pass from P.K. Subban on the powerplay, then dishes it to Bourque. Bourque passes across the width of the ice surface to Kaberle, who strangely enough, shoots. The shot is blocked however and trickles past the Calgary Flames defender to Lars Eller, who makes a beauty of a backhand pass to a completely open and streaking Plekanec for an easy backdoor goal. This was a definite zone play and was not an individual effort.
March 16th, 2012: Ryan White intercepts a pass by Kyle Turris with the shaft of his stick, and Plekanec jumps on the loose puck creating a 1-on-1 break against Matt Gilroy. Plekanec then does something I've only ever seen him do; as he passes the puck out from himself, shifts his body and then slaps it, effectively giving himself a one-timer that flies over Ben Bishop's glove. This goal was an individual play off the rush.
March 24th, 2012: Nicklas Grossman takes a shot on the Habs net from the point that's blocked. Lars Eller grabs the loose puck and notices Plekanec in the neutral zone, who gets a breakaway then dekes out Ilya Bryzgalov, putting the puck in the net with a backhand. While Eller made a great pass to get it to Plekanec, the actual goal scored was an individual play off the rush.
March 31st, 2012: Frederic St-Denis takes advantage of a neutral zone turnover by the Washington Capitals and sends the puck up the boards to Andrei Markov. Markov spots Plekanec skating up ice and sends a cross ice pass right to his tape. Plekanec drives wide and makes Roman Hamrlik's age show while roofing the puck over Michal Neuvirth's glove at a tight angle. Despite a great pass by Markov, this goal was an individual play off the rush as Plekanec gained the zone and got into scoring position on his own.
April 7th, 2012: On a 5-on-3 penalty kill, Plekanec takes advantage of Jake Gardiner bobbling the puck at the point and knocks the puck loose. He then blitzes past Gardiner, who's a great skater, for a breakaway. Plekanec seems to forget to shoot on the breakaway, stickhandling the puck through Ben Scrivens' five-hole. This goal was an individual play off the rush.
So what have we learned about Plekanec's 2011-12 season? Let's put all our info together.
|Goals||Goals on zone plays||Goals off the rush||Goals on individual plays|
Over half of Plekanec's goals were individual plays, and 59% of them came off the rush. We don't have context from other Habs players yet to see if this is unusual, but my instincts tell me that it is. I wouldn't expect most players to produce most of their goals without much help from their linemates.
What is also interesting is that after the trade of Mike Cammalleri, Plekanec scored slightly more often but assisted only about half as often (13 assists in 39 games vs 22 assists in 42 games). Of Plekanec's 9 goals scored after the Cammalleri trade, 7 of them were individual plays, including his last 4 straight goals. 7 of those 9 goals were also off the rush. This says to me that Plekanec had to do more on his own in the second half of the season, while he had a more varied scoring approach when he had stronger linemates, and put up better overall production (30 points in 42 games vs 22 points in 39).
Tomorrow we'll begin our look at Max Pacioretty's 2011-12 season, which will be in three parts.