The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/29/14 at 11:37 AM ET
Via the Red Wings' Twitter account, TSN's trying to break a 3-way tie in its Play of the Year bracket. Gustav Nyquist's goal against Tampa Bay has advanced to one of the semifinals, but TSN chose to split the other semifinal into a 3-way race between T.J. Oshie, Tomas Hertl and Tatar (and you can vote here):
Today's semifinal match-up features St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie taking on Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar and Thomas Hertl of the San Jose Sharks.
Oshie - as he proved at the Sochi Olympics this year - is comfortable going it alone.
After a fake slapper from Alex Steen backs the Tampa Bay Lightning off, Oshie grabs the puck and starts making headway towards the net. Oshie then splits Victor Hedman and Teddy Purcell before avoiding a spinning stick-check from Martin St. Louis. Losing his feet, Oshie finishes it with a backhand shovel that beats big Ben Bishop.
Here's the video...
Tatar's goal won out over a Marc-Andre Fleury save:
Tatar eliminates his defenders by running them clean into one another.
Streaking over the blue line, Tatar feels a pair of Dallas defenders closing in on him. As Brenden Dillon moves in for the big hit, Tatar hesitates and the Stars d-man catches teammate Cameron Gaunce square on, sending both players flying. Tatar resumes his drive and finishes with a nifty backhand shovel that goes off Kari Lehtonen and in.
This would be the goal...
Hertl – in just his third career game – had a historic night, scoring four goals at just 19 years old. The fourth goal, however, was something to behold.
Streaking in from the left boards, Hertl barrels in on Martin Biron looking to cap an already impressive night. He pulls Biron to his right, bringing the puck back through his legs. Reaching between with his stick, he gets under the shot for a wrister that goes top left corner. The young Czech's effort produces a goal brimming with confidence beyond his teenage years.
You know this one. Hertl's fourth goal, ye olde between the legs hot dog move:
So far, Tatar is winning by leaps and bounds, but that's because the Wings Tweeted the news first...
Update: DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose took note of the possible Nyquist-vs-Tatar final:
Voting for the first of two semifinal rounds – featuring Tatar, St. Louis forward T.J. Oshie and San Jose rookie Tomas Hertl – is under way now at TSN.ca.
Making things a little more interesting, or perhaps more game show-eque, TSN added a small twist by allowing analysts Jamie McLennan and Jeff O’Neill to bring back their favorite play that lost in an earlier round.
O’Neill, who played 11 NHL seasons, picked Hertl, who was defeated by Nyquist in Round 2. McLennan’s pick for the second semifinal series, which begins Monday, has not been announced.
Nyquist, who defeated Chicago forward Patrick Kane, Hertl, and Calgary goalie Reto Berra in the first three rounds, now faces Ottawa’s Clark MacArthur and the TBA player.
Nyquist’s highlight goal came in late March as the Red Wings desperately tried to keep their playoff hopes alive. TSN best described his second-period goal this way: “With a man all over him, Gustav Nyquist breaks into the zone, shoots, grabs his own rebound, spins and then scores from a very tight angle.”
The two Red Wings serpentined their way through the first three rounds of the tournament-style field of 32 featuring highlight-reel individual efforts from 31 different players during the 2013-14 season.
Among the earlier contestants were Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk (at Boston, Oct. 14) and backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson (at New Jersey, Dec. 6). Both lost early matchups to Oshie and Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, respectively.
Tatar’s goal was arguably the best end-to-end goal of the season. His athleticism and speed help him avoid a big hit in the Dallas zone before he shoveled a backhander over Stars goalie Keri Lehtonen on Jan. 4. The highlight has been a freight train in the tournament, breezing past Vancouver's Daniel Sedin, Ottawa captain Jason Spezza, and Fleury in the quarterfinals, where Tatar received more than 84 percent of the vote.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.