With the Caps tied 2-2 with the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, Lars Eller put the Caps ahead in the third period when he shot in a big rebound off the pad of Carter Hutton in for the goal. The initial shot came from T.J. Oshie on the far right. The rebound went right to Eller who had an open net to shoot on.
It was such a good play, it almost looked like they planned it that way. Well, that’s because they did.
You hear players and coaches mention taking shots just to generate rebounds and Eller’s goal is a good example because that’s exactly what Oshie was trying to do.
“I saw [Eller] had a full head of steam and their D was coming at me pretty quick,” Oshie said after Monday’s practice. “It didn't look like I could get it straight across so I figured I'd go far pad which is kind of something you do when you don't really have anything else or something you do in practice to work on just getting the goalie shots, but I thought it was the only way I could get it over to him.”
You can watch a replay of the goal in the video above.
Oshie is on the far right with the puck. He knows Eller has a chance to score, but his passing lane has been cut off. He could try a pass around the boards, but it would nullify Eller’s advantageous position. He could pass the puck back, but this would eliminate the advantage of the rush. He could take a shot himself, but he is practically against the boards and would be an easy save for Hutton. Instead, Oshie chose option D: take a shot he knows Hutton will save, but that will generate a rebound he can’t control.
With Oshie controlling the puck, Hutton has to commit himself to his left in case of a shot. Oshie does shoot, aiming at Hutton's far pad. Since Hutton is so far over, a rebound from the right pad is going to go to a high-danger area, in this case, right to Eller.
“Probably 1 in 15 times I think it goes right to a guy's tape,” Oshie said. “It usually goes where you don't want it to, but it worked out and he made a great play on a goal.”