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Analyzing Oscar Lindberg's Opening Goal Against Columbus

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Reviewing Oscar Lindberg's opening goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Rangers 5-2 home opening win.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

After our review of J.T. Miller's assists against the Chicago Blackhawks you guys asked for more goal breakdowns. Well, you're going to get them. Both because I love making you guys happy and because I enjoy breaking them down.

This time we're taking a look at Oscar Lindberg, the man you can't stop but can only try to contain. He ended up scoring two goals Saturday night (four in three games!) but the first one was the result of some really smart hockey and some great work by Kevin Hayes. A chance to boast about Hayes and Lindberg? I can't pass that up.

To the pictures!

The play starts with Columbus throwing the puck behind the net. Sergei Bobrovsky comes out to play it and passes it along to Fedor Tyutin in the corner thanks to some light pressure from an incoming Chris Kreider. It might seem like a routine play for Kreider to simply follow the puck, but his presence speeds up this play (and doesn't allow Tyutin to go back behind the net for an outlet). Hayes, seeing the puck moment, moves into the slot to press before backing out on defense.

Here Kreider (green square) continues his pressure on Tyutin and Hayes shows off his brilliant hockey IQ. When you see people mention a high hockey IQ they're usually talking about plays like this. Hayes was about to exit the zone to re-defend, but he reads Tyutin's intent to pass the puck to Cam Atkinson (the red lane is where Tyutin tries to go with the puck) and Hayes jumps the pass in the slot.

Please note how you don't see Lindberg in this frame. He shows off his hockey IQ here in a minute.

After Hayes successfully jumped the pass he completely changes the direction of the ice. Tyutin is locked up with Kreider (red circle) while the other three defenders are all facing the wrong way. The red arrows show the direction they're facing as Hayes launches towards the net with the puck. The green lane is the space Hayes has created for himself.

The green circle is Lindberg, who watched the play develop and instead of standing and watching Hayes on a breakaway follows the play. You'd be surprised at how many players don't follow the play and just puck watch. Lindberg scores this goal because he follows the play.

This slide is just to show how much of an advantage the Rangers had thanks to Hayes jumping the puck. Jack Johnson (red circle) is the only Columbus defender anywhere near the puck. The green arrow shows the direction Hayes is going to go in after he tries (and fails) to score using the Petr Forsberg. Lindberg, continuing to follow the play, moves down the green lane to keep himself in front of the puck.

Lindberg has just released the puck here. Because Bobrovsky had to sprawl to make the save on Hayes' shot he evicts the entire net. The green box is what Lindberg has to work with, which is everything. The red line shows how far back all of Columbus is as this play developed. Both Hayes and Lindberg were deeper than even Bobrovsky and it's all because of Hayes' ability to jump the play.

Here is the goal in it's entirety. I will use this as another chance to plus YouTube.com/BlueshirtBanter. Go watch all the videos there and subscribe. Ryan populates it with videos from every game and you'll see video highlights on the bottom of every story.

You have to give Lindberg a lot of credit here, too, though. It's easy to say he had a wide open net to work with and a gimme goal (which is true) but he earned the right to get that goal by following up on the play. We've seen some great work from him so far, and this is just another example of his hockey smarts.

Thoughts?